An Uruguayan Air Force Hercules C-130 aircraft landed at the Artigas Base in Antarctica carrying some 40 scientists for the 2022-2023 campaign to work on 18 projects, marking the 37th anniversary of Uruguay's entry as a consultative member of the Antarctic Treaty System.
As per that agreement dated Oct. 7, 1985, Uruguay has a say in the management and protection of the Antarctic environment. The deal is the result of peaceful political, scientific and logistic cooperation between the parties.
The Air Force's four-engined turboprop aircraft had departed Wednesday from Montevideo with the relief personnel as Defense Minister Javier García bid farewell to the new team.
García underlined that it was the first Antarctic campaign after the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions. The operation, called Antarkos XXXIX, consists of the relief of those who worked for a year at the Artigas Scientific Base and is made up of military, scientists, and technicians, in addition to 11 crew members.
The minister also highlighted that Uruguay had remained on the white continent for 40 years and its presence is strategic, since, among other reasons, the largest freshwater reserve is located there, in addition to prospecting for minerals.
Uruguayan Antarctic Institute President Fernando Colina explained that the campaign included projects related to the structure and incidence of anthropic noise and will be developed by 45 scientists.
Topographic, geodetic, and geophysical surveys will also be carried out, while another research project will use penguins as sentinels of the impact of human activity and climate change on the Antarctic ecosystem.
The personnel deployment for the 2022-2023 Antarctic campaign will be completed with other flights and the arrival next January of a ship of the Uruguayan Navy.
The Artigas Base has been operating since 1984 and is located on King George Island, in the South Shetland Archipelago, about 100 kilometers north of the Antarctic Peninsula.