Argentine Navy's ARA Puerto Argentino sloop has sucessfully unloaded supplies and machinery this week at the Petrel Base in Antarctica, it was reported. A self-propelled pontoon built entirely at the Tandanor–CINAR shipyard was used for the reconstruction of this base, which is returning to permanent service after nearly 50 years.
The pontoon was ferried to Antarctica aboard the Argentine-built ARA Canal Beagle (B-3) transport unit and later transferred to the sloop.
This self-propelled boat was made with the contribution of the National Defense Fund (FONDEF). It will allow the transport of loads of up to 20 tons from ships anchored in areas close to the coast to the landing beach.
Both Navy vessels and the pontoon are taking part in the 118th Summer Antarctic Campaign, under the Joint Antarctic Command (Cocoantar) to support scientific research carried out at each base.
The reopening of the Petrel Base was decided last year. It will no longer be a temporary base, Defense Minister Jorge Taiana had said on making the announcement. ”Petrel presents very favorable conditions due to its location ... of strategic importance”
The 118th Summer Antarctic Campaign (CAV, for its acronym in Spanish) consists of delivering supplies to the 13 Argentine bases, some of them permanent, others temporary, in addition to logistical support to scientific activities carried out on site.
Petrel is the first joint base where the three Armed Forces coexist. It is located on Dundee Island and is expected to be used as part of an Antarctic logistics bridge, the Defense Ministry had explained through a statement.
The location of this base is optimal because it has a plain at sea level very rare in Antarctica, which gives it a microclimate in the summer. It also has a meteorological station.
Tandanor is also bulding back from its critical years, during which more than 35 engineers [were] laid off, according to statements from CEO Miguel Tundino last year.
“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 had said.
“Argentina needs to have a modern naval infrastructure to be more effective and generate synergy to develop suppliers and work,” he went on.
The Puerto Argentino has been named after the Argentine version of Port Stanley, capital of the British Overseas Territories of the Falkland Islands.