The Government of Argentina Wednesday approved the allocation of funds to the Tandanor state shipyard to advance in cooperation with Finnish consultants Aker Arctic in the design and construction of a new polar ship to join the icebreaker ARA Almirante Irízar in delivering supplies to the thirteen bases in Antarctica.
The project stems from 2014 and was suspended during the administration of former President Mauricio Macri (2015-2019). It seeks to provide the Argentine Navy with a ship with a large cargo and fuel transport capacity, which can navigate in icy Antarctic waters and helt the ARA Almirante Irízar, which during its reconstruction and modernization at Tandanor has been turned into a multipurpose vessel, with new oceanographic observatory capabilities.
Tandoor President Miguel Tudino told Télam that with Aker Arctic, we now agree on the execution of the basic engineering that will be carried out jointly, much of it will be in charge of the Finnish consultancy that is responsible for the design of about 85 percent of the polar ships that exist, but we will work in an integrated team with a technical office from Tandanor that will work on the electrical and electronic aspects of the project.
We estimate that the basic engineering is going to take about fourteen months but simultaneously we are going to advance in the detailed engineering thinking that the entire ship is going to be built in our shipyard, he went on.
This whole process can take about fifteen months in total, and then as the funds are credited, we could move forward with the construction that has a planned term of about five years, Tudino added.
He also explained the Almirante Irízar was an emblem of Tandanor because it can now supply the bases Antarctica much more efficiently. Currently Tandanor is finishing the construction of an aluminum pontoon propelled by two outboard motors that will allow maritime containers to be unloaded from the icebreaker, it will probably be ready this month and maybe the icebreaker can begin to use this new equipment during the current Antarctic campaign.
«For this project, the University of Buenos Aires (UBA), the National Technological University (UTN), the National Defense University (Undef), the National University of Quilmes (UNQUI) and the Buenos Aires Technological Institute (ITBA) have been invited to participate, Tudino also explained, so that at least three students can travel to Finland to become a part of the design process, study there and then return and join the shipyard for the construction of the ship.”
The 2014 project foresees the design and construction of a polar transport ship with an ice reinforcement typing according to the International Association of Ship Classification Societies of »Polar Class 4″ (PC4) that would allow it to operate freely north of the Antarctic Peninsula with the possibility of accessing the Belgrano II Base, southeast of the Weddell Sea and about 1,300 kilometers from the South Pole, in the event of replacing the Almirante Irízar.
This new ship could articulate the entire Antarctic logistics system, including the Ushuaia Integrated Base and the Petrel Joint Base, according to reports.
It would have a length (length) of 131.5 meters, a beam (width) of 23.6 meters, a draft of 8 meters, and could navigate in open waters at a speed of up to 16 knots while in waters with ice up to a meter thick it could reach 2 knots. This design would have a range of 15,000 nautical miles using her two main engines at 85% of her power.
The ship is also to accomodate a crew of 105 plus 25 members of the air group to operate two helicopters, in addition to 60 passengers who carry out scientific or maintenance tasks in the Argentine Antarctic bases. This project also incorporates the use of containers in the Antarctic logistics scheme to provide greater agility throughout the replenishment process and, also, the reverse management of the waste generated.
Defense Minister Jorge Taiana stressed that “we need to have a polar ship to strengthen our presence in Antarctica, because the Irízar has given up a lot of cargo capacity for the development of the scientific area and will have laboratories on board.
Taiana also remarked that “the 21st century is a century where Argentina must enhance its projection to the sea, [and] defend its renewable and non-renewable natural resources throughout its national territory.
”We must have the perspective of an Argentina that looks towards the South Atlantic, towards the Islands, towards Antarctica with a bicontinental vision. This strategic vision will be the axis for the exercise of our sovereign rights and the future of sustainable development for the country,” the minister went on.