Chile’s state-owned shipbuilder, ASMAR has started the construction of Chilean Navy’s new icebreaker Antarctic research vessel during a ceremony held at the Steel Workshop of its Talcahuano Shipyard on May 9, 2018.
Michelle Bachelet, President of Chile, pressed the button to formally start cutting the steel plate of which will be the first ship of this type built in Latin America with an investment that will exceed US $ 210 million.
Chile’s Navy announced its intent to replace its icebreaker Almirante Oscar Viel (Ex-Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker, CCGS Norman McLeod Rogers) in 2014.
The configuration of the new vessel was finalized by the Chilean Navy’s Directorate of Programs, Research and Development (DIPRIDA) and ASMAR’s Department of Naval Construction Projects by considering the requirements from the various lead agencies involved in the Chilean Antarctic program: Chilean Antarctic Institute (INACh), Chilean Army, Air Force, and, especially, the Navy.
The design of the ship was done in collaboration with Canada’s VARD Marine and it being built by ASMAR (Astilleros y Maestranza de la Armada) with LRS – Polar 5 Class notation under Project Antártica I.
The icebreaker will have a length of 111 meters, a breadth of 21 meters and a draft of 7.2 meters, and will have a displacement of over 13,000 tonnes. It will have an installed power of 14.5MW to operate at 3 knots on one-year-old ice up to 1 meter thick covered with up to 20 centimeters of snow, while her maximum speed will be 15 knots.
With a total crew of up to 120 people, the ship will have a cargo capacity of about 510 cubic meters; plus 400 cubic meters of fuel transport; and another 400 cubic meters of load on pallets. The vessel is designed to carry a wide range of containerized and vehicle cargo; helicopters and rescue boats.
The vessel will be equipped with modern scientific equipment, and microbiological, macrobiological and chemical laboratories to support high level scientific studies onboard.
In addition, it has the necessary characteristics to operate in extreme cold weather, thanks to its hull designed to operate at -30 ° C, equipped with safety equipment for human life at sea at those very low temperatures.
Once built, the vessel will undertake roles that include Logistic Support, Search and Rescue (SAR) and Scientific Research, south from the Antarctic Polar Circle. The operation period shall be at least eight months per year in the vicinity of Alejandro I Island.
The new vessel will replace icebreaker Almirante Oscar Viel (AP-46), which was constructed in 1969, and is scheduled to set sail on its maiden voyage to Antarctic Polar Circle in the 2022-2023 season.