The construction of the Chilean Navy’s new polar ship has started officially at the ASMAR Talcahuano Shipyard.
ASMAR, Chile’s state-owned company, had to ramp up its infrastructure just for this ambitious project. A 150-ton gantry crane has been incorporated launching pad to increase lifting capacity. Along with it, a 230-ton carriage has been brought in to transport the blocks. Talcahuano Shipyard will have the distinction of being the first shipyard in the Latin America to build such a ship.
The steel-cutting ceremony took place on August 16. The ship named “Antartica I” will be a polar class vessel. It will replace the icebreaker Contraalmirante Oscar Viel Toro.
Antarctica I is scheduled to be delivered in 2021 and will commence its maiden voyage to Antarctic Polar Circle in 2023.
The ship is intended to perform logistic support activities for global Antarctic operators. It will be capable of carrying out search and rescue operations, tow ships, rescue, and transport up to 18 people and a hospital of medical/dental consultations. The vessel will also be equipped with a flight deck, a hangar for two medium helicopters, two cranes to lift 20 tons at 20 meters range and a self-propelled boat to unload containers to land and transport personnel and equipment.
The 111-meter ship will also have modern hydroacoustic equipment for geological and oceanographic research. The vessel will be capable of operating in icy waters, navigating continuously at a constant speed of 3 knots over a 500 kPa flexural strength ice of 1-meter thickness and covered with a 20-centimeter layer of snow.
The operation period shall be at least eight months per year in the vicinity of Alejandro I Island.
GE’s Marine Solutions is in charge of providing an integrated marine propulsion system for the vessel including diesel-electric propulsion, GE’s Tier 3-compliant diesel engine, dynamic positioning and vessel automation system.
Damen Marine Components has been hired to supply steering gear, rudders, and stern tube parts. Design of the vessel was done in collaboration with Vard Canada.