The Argentine government is putting pressure on contractors so that the Navy's flagship icebreaker Almirante Irizar, partially destroyed by fire in 2007, can begin sea trials later this year. However over-costs and mismanagement of the funds invested, estimated at over 650 million dollars, could have purchased a new vessel of three second hand according to critics in Congress.
Argentine Federal magistrate Luis Rodríguez has ordered Supreme Court accountancy experts to prepare a report on the 2012/13 Antarctic campaign including two tenders and extraordinary expenses all of which involving an estimated 30 million pesos, approximately 4 million dollars.
In a surprise move Argentine President Cristina Fernández replaced the top heads of the armed forces and appointed Brigadier General Luis María Carena as the new head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The changes announced on Wednesday come just a few weeks after former lawmaker Augstín Rossi was named new Defence minister.
Argentine president Cristina Fernandez shuffled her cabinet appointing Defence minister Arturo Puricelli at the Security ministry and Agustin Rossi until now head of the government’s block in the Lower House, in Defence. Removed Nilda Garré is to be appointed as the new ambassador before the Organization of American States, OAS.
Argentina’s Antarctica campaigns are losing their flair and the country is having difficulties to fill vacancies for the 2013/14 season. This follows repeated claims of alleged corruption and delays in supplying the bases and stations plus an overall lack of support from the Defence ministry.
The Malvinas cause will only come to an end when Argentina has definitive possession of the Islands, said Argentine defence minister Arturo Puricelli during a military ceremony to remember the 31st anniversary of the loss of cruiser ‘General Belgrano”, during the Falklands’ conflict torpedoed on 2 May 1982 by a Royal Navy submersible with the loss of 323 lives.
Defence minister Arturo Puricelli said that Argentines “are not prepared to tolerate the usurpation” of the Malvinas Islands ‘for the rest of our lives’ and the honour and glory for those who fought in the South Atlantic “is going to be recalled until we obtain absolute and exclusive sovereignty over our Islands”.
Six years ago this week Argentina’s icebreaker ‘Almirante Irizar’ and symbol of the country’s presence in Antarctica caught fire and was an almost loss. The government pledged to have the vessel back sailing in a couple of years but now it has surfaced that only 50% of repairs have been completed and the whole enterprise is involved in deep controversy.
Argentine Defence Minister Arturo Puricelli said that the sinking of the destroyer ARA Santísima Trinidad could have been a planned sabotage attack, but also confessed that when President Cristina Fernandez asks him why the ship sank his face drops with embarrassment.
“Once more we fulfill our promise, the Frigate is coming back,” was the first statement given by President Cristina Fernández over the ruling of the UN's International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea to release the ARA Libertad frigate.