At a total cost of around US$ 210 million, Chile's first home-built icebreaker is already 60% complete and plans to be seaworthy by the time of the XII International Naval Exhibition and Congress in Valparaíso in December, it was reported.
The Almirante Óscar Viel, assembled at the Asmar shipyard in Talcahuano will also become the first icebreaker manufactured and Latin America.
It is scheduled to be launched in December 2022, at which time it will begin a new stage of construction, this time afloat.
The Antarctica I project, which will place Chile at the forefront of the protection and projection of the Antarctic continent and its surrounding area, consists of an icebreaker for the Chilean Navy, which will have among its duties search and rescue tasks in the event of possible maritime, aerial or land disasters on the Antarctic continent, with the support of onboard helicopters, rescue boats, and an infirmary with surgical capabilities.
The vessel will enhance Chile's Antarctic scientific capabilities, allowing it to reach 650 kilometers further south than the previous icebreaker Óscar Viel, which was decommissioned in 2019 and sunk last year during a naval air combat exercise with the U.S. Navy.
Construction of the new ship is more than 60% complete, according to the Chilean Navy's latest reports.
Systems associated with the main structure, such as propulsion, steering, lateral bow propeller, electronic equipment, and habitability, are currently being installed.
The vessel is 111 meters long and has a displacement of 10,500 tons. It will be the largest unit ever built in Chile, at a cost of more than US$ 210 million.
It will be operational 250 days a year (twice as long as the previous version), including incursions between November and March in the area between the South Shetland Islands and Alexander I, where the Antarctic Peninsula begins.
After work afloat between December and July 2023, the preparation of the systems necessary for the Viel to begin its port trials will begin, a milestone set for December 2023.
The plan is for the icebreaker to be completed by August 2024, and to set sail for its first Antarctic campaign at the end of that year. (Source: El Mercurio)