The Argentine Río Santiago Shipyard (ARS) is to launch the 94th Navy Cadet Instruction Boat (LICA) Ciudad de Ensenada this coming Monday, Oct. 18, which will mark the facility's first delivery after nine years, during which it was on the brink of bankruptcy.
The event will be presided over by Defense Minister Jorge Taiana.
The boat was designed exclusively by the ARS for the Argentine Navy. This is the first launch to be carried out at the plant after the paralysis caused by the Cambiemos government between 2015 and 2019 and it shows the commitment of the current management that both at the national, provincial and shipyard levels took the commitment to reactivate the naval industry in general and that of the ARS in particular, the shipyard said in a statement.
Construction of the boat to be launched Monday began in 2014. The Río Santiago Shipyard is supported by the Province of Buenos Aires. In 2018, provincial police fired rubber bullets, and tear gas against plant workers who staged a road demonstration along the Buenos Aires - La Plata Highway facing imminent termination of their jobs.
ARS also signed a partnership deal Friday with the Tandanor shipyards -also a state-run company- as the industry regains momentum amid worldwide recession due to the COVID-19 pandemic, linking public shipyards with SMEs so that they know “we are here” to become our suppliers, explained ARS CEO Pedro Wasiejko.
“In the last four years, 350 jobs were lost and there were more than 35 engineers laid off at Tandanor,” CEO Miguel Tundino said. “A ship is like a floating city and it needs all that architecture and engineering to function,” and the company's current goal is to gradually recover Argentina's naval industry which was dismantled during the 1990s, Tundino also explained.
“Argentina needs to have a modern naval infrastructure to be more effective and generate synergy to develop suppliers and work,” he went on.
Wasiejko insisted it was also “necessary to take care of the economic equation so that [the industry] is sustainable for the country,” which under former President Mauricio Macri has purchased four ships from France at a global cost of US $ 480 million. Wasiejko claimed that manufacturing them in Argentina would have both saved money and created more jobs.