Vice Admiral Juan Francisco Herrera assures that President Duque asked for his retirement. He says that if security was not increased, it would have generated a catastrophe in the port.
Vice Admiral Juan Francisco Herrera, maritime director of the National Navy, would leave office after having increased security in the port of Buenaventura.
According to official sources, President Iván Duque would have asked Herrera to retire after this week he would increase to two the level of protection of the port terminal. This situation arose when vandals tried to enter the facilities, which would have put the ships, container equipment and other infrastructure at risk.
“Although we tried not to raise the level of protection to level 2, on May 19 after noon when vandals entered the port, it was already a very high risk that forced us to do so in prevention of a greater evil, since there were dangerous goods in containers. Can you imagine those misfits had managed to set fire to a container as we saw had happened in CAI of the Police or urban buses set on fire?” he added.
Herrera did not give details about his resignation, however, he went further and indicated that the potential insecurity situation could have been of such magnitude, that he compares it to what happened last year in Beirut (Lebanon), where two explosions were registered that left more than 200 dead and some 6,500 wounded.
Citing official sources, Lebanese television channel LBCI reported at the time that a load of sodium nitrate confiscated more than a year ago, which remained near the port, could have been the source of the incident.
The Lebanese state news agency NNA reported that the incident took place in a silo in the port that houses a fireworks factory, but there is still no official version of the incident.
These events were cited by the maritime director of the Navy to indicate that an emergency of the same magnitude could have occurred in the port of Buenaventura, which is why he raised the security level to two.
Chaos in the port
The public order situation that has been occurring in some regions of the country has the port of Buenaventura in check, which has completed more than two weeks with road blockades, riots, looting attempts and fires.
According to Alexánder Micolta, former president of the Buenaventura Chamber of Commerce, this has caused the container terminal in that city to be at 88% of its capacity.
It is not for nothing that this week several of the most important shipping companies in the world confirmed that they will not provide the service, due to the national strike that affects several cities in Colombia since April 28th.
“The cargoes that are already on their way and the cargoes with confirmed booking from Asia will continue with their scheduled arrival and departure. We are looking for alternatives to dispatch cargo to Barranquilla and Cartagena in order to mitigate the impact,” they explained.
This and other situations have led Colombian businessmen to beg the National Strike Committee and the marchers to unblock the roads and allow them to work. They have assured that they respect and support the peaceful protest, but not the road closures or the acts of vandalism that have occurred.