The first icebreaker built in Latin America, Almirante Oscar Viel, was launched last week from the state-run naval ASMAR shipyard in Talcahuano, Chile after five years of construction
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.
Chile is planning a strong expansion of its Antarctic and maritime support vessels as well as a major repair yard, according to a recent pledge by President Michelle Bachelet during the opening of the Exponaval and Trans-Port exhibitions in Valparaiso and Viña del Mar.
A new alternative commercial route to Antarctica from the Chilean city of Punta Arenas avoiding the Beagle Channel and saving several hours sailing has been opened by the Chilean navy with the establishment of a state of the art lighthouse.
The Chilean Navy icebreaker is scheduled to be decommissioned in four years time so “we are in the task of considering a replacement” revealed Third Naval Zone Commander Rear Admiral Rafael Gonzalez during a press conference in Punta Arenas to review results of the last Antarctic season.