Argentine Minister of Defense Jorge Taiana and the governor of Tierra del Fuego province, Gustavo Melella laid the founding stone of the Ushuaia Integral Naval Base, which will replace the current naval base, and will be built in two phases including 15.000 square meters military wharf.
Top military officials plus elected authorities from Ushuaia and the provincial government attended the ceremony officially designated as Relocation of the naval base Ushuaia, Almirante Berisso since the military deployment will be moved to the extreme east of the Ushuaia Peninsula
The 15,000 square meters naval wharf is expected to facilitate docking operations of the Argentine navy vessels as well as those involved in Antarctica logistics, scientific and patrol operations. For this operation two specially support vessels built by the Tandanor shipyard will help as workshops for the wharf.
In the second phase infrastructure will be finalized, plus administration buildings, housing for military personnel and the logistics for handling vessels.
Minister Taiana anticipated that the new base will be closely coordinated with the Antarctic Logistic Pole currently developed by the provincial government, which overall will mean greater elements and improved capacities for maritime activities.
We must strengthen the access to Antarctica and offer better opportunities. That is why among other improvements we are working in the recovery of the Petrel Base, which is to become Argentina's seventh permanent base in the white continent, pointed out Taiana.
The minister then recalled that among the instructions for the defense ministry from Argentine president Alberto Fernandez last year, was that the country must develop a defense strategy, we're not thinking or planning to attack anybody, but yes we will defend ourselves, with sufficient dissuasion capacity, basic elements for any defense
We have made the decision to strengthen our presence in Patagonia, and above all in Tierra del Fuego, Antarctica and the South Atlantic islands . We believe Argentina has great development prospects, as long as we are capable of integrating and recovering what we once called the Blue Pampa, an Argentina that looks out to the sea, that looks south, that looks towards South Atlantic islands with a bi-continental approach, pointed out Taiana.
This is the best guarantee for our children and generations that will succeed us, and a homage to all those that some forty years ago did the ultimate sacrifice in support of the motherland during the Malvinas war.
Governor Melella following on the minister's speech said that in geopolitical terms our province has a unique strategic position, we are bi continental, we have Malvinas, we have Antarctica, so the announcement of the new integral naval base is tremendously significant and we all agree on that.
The fact today we have minister Taiana with us ratifies the path that was started strongly, at his time, by former president Nestor Kirchner, continued by Cristina Kirchner, and later a 'de-mavilization' process, of which we are now back on track, said Melella.
As to the Antarctic Logistics Pole it's not military, it's commercial, production, services activities, obviously closely linked to the sovereignty issue
We have reached a consensus with the national government that we are going to work together with the municipality of Ushuaia, with the private sector so that these grounds are not the property of or managed by the military, because otherwise no foreigners will be coming to leave their equipment and stuff in a military compound
I believe it's great news and a great bet from the national government, of which we should all be most grateful because it has to do with our sovereignty, growth and development in the province and an acknowledgement of the strategic position of Tierra del Fuego in the region as passage to Antarctica