Chile Earthquake and Port Closure

By September 29, 2015 Article, Marine News, Technology No Comments

Weather conditions and other natural phenomena have always played a part in the operations of the maritime industry. In the case of extreme events like major earthquakes, this is even more so. In Chile, where a magnitude 8.3 earthquake recently hit, extensive damages have caused the closure of Coquimbo Port. Kemplon Engineering takes a closer look at the story.


Chile is an earthquake-prone country in South America, and is noted for having experienced the largest-ever one on record in 1960. September 16’s magnitude 8.3 quake marks the largest one to strike Chile since 2010 (when they were hit with a devastating 8.8) – also the world’s largest so far this year. Following the earthquake were tsunamis, in waves as high as 15 to even 49 feet, by some reports. Experts have even estimated 600 aftershocks since the first tremors, with at least 20 of them of a magnitude 6 or higher. The death toll is at 14 people, with 5 others missing. 14,000 people are affected by the quake and its aftermath; 4,000 homes were either destroyed or rendered uninhabitable by the disaster; and 1 million people were evacuated from Pacific coastal areas.

Coquimbo Port is a two-berth port through which 770,000 metric tons of cargo passed in 2014. It is said to handle about 2,550 twenty-foot equivalent units yearly. The multi-purpose facility also processed 17,000 tourists via its passenger terminal last year. Though no injuries from the recent quake have been reported here, the disaster did not leave the premises unscarred; its administrative buildings, customs’ offices and cruise passenger terminals are reportedly severely damaged. The pier, though it seems to have remained intact, will still be closely examined. Port employees have been evacuated, and the port’s container operations have been suspended. Normal operations will resume following damage assessments and appropriate repairs.

In the wake of the disaster, tsunami warnings have reached far beyond Chile, with small ones reportedly hitting the west coast of the US and Canada.

We at Kemplon Engineering are one with the maritime community in wishing the country well in its recovery.

For more articles on the various segments of the maritime industry, including shipping and tourism, explore our blog. We keep it fresh and frequently updated with the news and issues of the day, as part of our commitment to meeting the needs and interests of our marine and industrial customers. To learn more about our company and the wide range of engineering services we can provide, check out the rest of our website. We have been in the business since 2005, and can cater to a vast set of needs including welding and fabrication, precision machining, pipe fitting, laser cutting, and more. We would love the opportunity to work with you on your projects. Contact us for queries and quotes at, or by phone at (877) 522-6526.


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“Chilean Earthquake Shuts Down Port.” The Maritime Executive, 18 Sep 2015. Web. 27 Sep 2015.

“Coquimbo Port Closed following Massive Earthquake in Chile.” World Maritime News, 18 Sep 2015. Web. 27 Sep 2015.

Fonseca, Jospeh R. “Chile Earthquake – Ports Status.”, 19 Sep 2015. Web. 27 Sep 2015.

Ramirez, Noah. “Chile’s Coquimbo port hit hardest following 8.3 earthquake.” BNAmericas, 21 Sep 2015. Web. 27 Sep 2015.

“Tsunami off Chile’s coast closes Coquimbo port.”, 17 Sep 2015. Web. 27 Sep 2015.

Image “Old Grunge Flag Of Chile” courtesy of zdiviv at