Argentina’ icebreaker Almirante Irizar, docked for repairs since 2007 is en route to becoming another major scandal involving the Ministry of Defence and the Argentine Navy’s fleet. In the last six years Argentina has invested the equivalent of 200 million dollars in the recovery of the vessel that caught fire in 2007 and another 75 million dollars in contracting vessels to supply the Antarctic bases and stations.
Argentina’s Antarctica campaigns are losing their flair and the country is having difficulties to fill vacancies for the 2013/14 season. This follows repeated claims of alleged corruption and delays in supplying the bases and stations plus an overall lack of support from the Defence ministry.
The International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO) and the Chilean Marine Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) provided on Thursday details on a joint Search and Rescue Workshop conducted last month in Punta Arenas, Chile.
HMS Protector, the Royal Navy’s Ice Patrol Ship, has returned to Portsmouth at the end of a nine-month deployment to the ‘Frozen Continent’. Operating in the British Antarctic Territory, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands throughout the Austral Summer, the ship conducted three intensive work periods in the ice, and a fourth work period in the waters surrounding South Georgia.
Argentine Foreign minister Hector Timerman said that relations with Uruguay are going through “a good moment”, contrary to recent statements from Uruguayan Vice-president Danilo Astori, and described as ‘false’ the information that two Falklands’ flagged fishing vessels had called into Uruguayan ports.
A new five-year Strategic Plan, an expanded Membership and committee structure, and a new yacht dockside observer program were among the items adopted at the 24th Annual Meeting of the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO), held April 22-24 in Punta Arenas, Chile.
The Brazilian Navy announced in Rio the winning proposal for the new Antarctic research base Comandante Ferraz which in February last year was destroyed by fire with the loss of two lives and damages in excess of 12 million dollars.
The Buenos Aires media is reporting a potential incident situation in South Georgia waters which could erupt into something more complicated from the moment the Argentine research vessel ‘Eduardo Holmberg’ has been involved in scientific activities in a zone which last year was declared by the UK as a Maritime Protected Area, MPA, and which Argentina does not recognize since it considers it ‘an area in dispute’.
The International Association of Antarctic Tour Operators, IAATO, with over a hundred member organizations held in April its latest annual meeting in Punta Arenas, Chile with a numerous delegation from the Falkland Islands attending given the growing economic significance of the cruise industry and Antarctica tours.
A tugboat from the Chilean Navy equipped for environmental emergencies is trying to determine the position where the remains of the Chinese factory ship Kai Xin went down in Antarctica last week after catching fire and left adrift by the 97 member crew rescued by a Norwegian vessel and a reefer.