Argentina’s defense ministry has approved funds for the construction of a new icebreaker as part of the country’s Antarctic program.
The new ship will be built by state-owned Tandanor Shipyard based on a design by Finnish Aker Arctic, and will advance Argentina’s efforts to protect its sovereignty and interests in the Antarctic.
“We need to have a polar ship to strengthen our presence in Antarctica,” defense minister Jorge Taiana said.
“The new polar logistics ship will join the ARA Almirante Irízar icebreaker currently in service, which supplies the Argentine bases in Antarctica.”
The defense minister noted that the ship is starting construction after the country decided to reopen the Petrel Base in Antarctica to achieve a greater presence and better scientific development on the “white continent.”
Petrel base is currently a non-permanent Argentine scientific station located on Dundee Island but plans are in place to turn the location into a year-round base.
Tandanor said the polar icebreaker would be 131.5 meters long and 23.6 meters wide. It will have Polar Class 4 classification, meaning it will be capable of operating in thick first-year ice year-round.
The future icebreaker will complement the operations of the over 40-year-old ARA Almirante Irízar, which was ordered from a Finnish shipyard in 1975.