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Wednesday, December 1st 2004 - 20:00 UTC
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Chilean cruises directly from Antarctica; Expo-Magallanes next January;
Computerized Magallanes Clinic; Aircraft parking in Chilean Antarctic base.

Chilean cruises directly from Antarctica

Magallanes tourist agent Antarctica XXI launched this Tuesday its 2004/05 cruise season with the Russian flagged "Grigory Mikheev" which will board in Fildes Bay, King George Island, 42 passengers flown in from Punta Arenas. This will be the first of three cruises with passengers flown in by Dap Airways Dash 7. The six days five nights cruise combines air transport and sailing round South Shetland Islands and the Antarctic Peninsula with two daily landings. The next cruises are scheduled for December 5 and 10 totalling 120 passengers. Next season a further cruise is being planned to coincide with Christmas in Antarctica. Apparently Chilean investors are also refurbishing the Lakutaia Hotel and the former Wala Hostel so as to expand Antarctic cruise activities to include Cape Horn. The ?Grigoriy Mikheev' is a modern and comfortable research vessel of the Hydrographic Institute of St. Petersburg. Built in 1990 in Finland, and designed as an ice-strengthened vessel, the ship is now under long-term contract by Oceanwide Expeditions. Converted in the Netherlands for passenger use, the vessel is ideally suited to expedition cruising. She has a range of 70 days independent operation and is ISM certified. The vessel is strongly built of steel with an ice-strengthened hull, perfect for the polar seas. She is manned by an enthusiastic Russian crew of around 20, all highly experienced in ice navigation. Russian captains are recognised experts in polar navigation. All our international expedition leaders and lecturers are highly knowledgeable, helpful and dedicated to the protection of the environment. The 'Grigoriy Mikheev' has a large bridge (where you are almost always welcome) and good open deck-viewing areas. She carries a full complement of Zodiac craft, excellent for landings and wildlife viewing opportunities in otherwise in-accessible areas. Excellent cuisine, prepared by international chefs, is served in the dining room, which also acts as the lecture room. Other public areas include a lounge and bar, small library, infirmary, and sauna.

Expo-Magallanes next January

The 2005 edition of Expo-Magallanes which attracts regional industry and promotes small and medium sized companies is scheduled for January 17/23 in Punta Arenas. The show will take place in one of Magallanes University theatres with a capacity for 70 stands which will be distributed beginning December 8. Twelve important regional sponsors are helping with the financing of the event that will also provide recreational activities, musical shows, plays, plus all the food and drink stands, making it an ideal summer outing, according to the Expo's newsletter. The event is organized by the Chilean government Economic Ministry regional office and Magallanes Association of Small and Medium Industrialists.

Computerized Magallanes Clinic

A fully computerized clinical laboratory was inaugurated last week by Clinica Magallanes in Punta Arenas, according to the local press. The "Omega 2000" system which was set up in association with Roche Diagnostic apparently is similar to the top Santiago clinics such as Las Condes, Clinica Alemana and Clinica Tabancura. The new system cuts drastically the participation of third parties in the follow up of samples and helps speed the delivery of final results. "The sample is taken into "Admission" where it's marked with a code of bars for each patient. Once in the lab the technician with the bar system knows exactly what he's expected to do with the margin for error virtually cut to zero", said Paula Zuñiga coordinator of the Laboratory. "Results are validated and printed by the technician, meaning no third parties are needed and virtually eliminates error margin", added Ms. Zuñiga. "Omega 2000" also facilitates an orderly storage of all the information regarding each patient, which makes it much safer and easier when looking for the specific file.

Aircraft parking in Chilean Antarctic base

The building of a parking ground with capacity for two Hercules C130 transports and the improvement of the 1.292 meters long landing strip in the Antarctic base of Teniente Marsh in King George Island will be completed this season according to Punta Arenas press. The project is financed by the Magallanes Development Fund and will be undertaken by the Chilean Military Task Force with support from the three services. Heavy equipment and materials will be arriving in the Chilean Navy icebreaker Almirante Viel with the support of the high seas tug "Lautaro". The Army engineers will be responsible for the 126 by 126 meters parking lot which will need land removal and gravel stumping. Similarly with improving the drainage of the air strip and mounting a more sophisticated landing illumination and control system. Depending on weather conditions the project including the infrastructure for the parking lot is expected to be finalized by the end of February or early March 2005. Currently the lack of the parking lot limits air traffic in the Chilean base to one aircraft.

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