The Argentine government has approved the funds for the design and construction of a new polar vessel to complement the activities of ice breaker ARA Almirante Irizar in her task of delivering provisions to the Argentine thirteen Antarctic bases. Works and design will be undertaken by the government-owned shipyard Tandanor and Finland's consulting firm Aker Arctic, with the funds allotted totaling 69 million Argentine pesos ( some US$ 6,5 million) and 7 million Euros.
The project which took off in 2014 looks to deliver to the Argentine navy a vessel for cargo and fuel transport, capable of sailing Antarctic waters complementing icebreaker Almirante Irizar tasks, which during her refurbishing was converted into a multi-purpose vessel with a strong emphasis on scientific research.
Tandoor shipyard president engineer Miguel Tudino said that with Aker Arctic, we agreed on the basic engineering to be developed jointly, since the Finnish consulting firm is responsible for the design of almost 85% of existing polar vessels, while at a joint office in Tandanor we will address electric and electronic issues of the project
We estimate that the basic engineering will take us some fourteen months, but are also going to advance in the technical aspects since the vessel will be entirely built at Tandanor, a process that can demand another fifteen months, and as we receive the funds we can advance with the construction for which we have a period of five years, added Tudino.
The refurbishing and modernization of the Almirante Irizar was a milestone for Tandanor since we've become a first-rate shipyard, and with the labs, she has become a multipurpose vessel; the new polar vessel with increasing Argentina's capacity to supply our Antarctic bases more efficiently
Tudino said that Tandanor is currently finishing an aluminum pontoon with two outboard engines to facilitate the unloading of containers from the polar vessels, and we expect to have it finished in a few weeks. One of the auxiliary vessels of the Antarctic campaign could deliver it to the icebreaker so it begins to use it.
The polar vessel to be built with the Finnish consultants will be a Polar Class 4, (PC4) which allows it to sail freely along the north of the Antarctic Peninsula, with access to the Belgrano II Base, to the southeast of the Weddell Sea, some 1,300 kilometers from the South Pole, particularly in the event of having to replace Almirante Irizar.
The new vessel is designed to be 131,5 meters long, 23,6 meters beam, and an eight-meter draft, making 16 knots in the open sea and 2 knots in packed ice of up to a meter thick. She will have 15,000 nautical miles autonomy with her two engines steaming at 85% of their power.
She will have the capacity for a crew of 105, plus 25 air force experts for the upkeep of two helicopters in the hangar and sixty passengers involved in scientific research or maintenance of the Antarctic bases.
A major change according to Tudino is that the new vessel will work with container logistics, rendering more speed to unloading provisions and collecting litter and junk to be sent back to the continent.
Finally, Tudino underlined that Argentina this century must emphasize her projection to the sea, protect its renewable and nonrenewable resources in all of its oceanic territory. We must have the perspective of an Argentina that looks out to the South Atlantic and its Islands, and Antarctica with a bi-continental vision. This is strategic for the exercise of our sovereignty rights and the future of sustainable development of our country.