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Chilean shipyard Astilleros y Maestranzas de la Armada (ASMAR) has begun assembling the first blocks for the ANTARTICA I polar vessel destined for the Chilean Navy. The vessel is intended to replace the current OSCAR VIEL.

The largest ship built in its history, this programme is the company’s biggest current challenge. Construction of an icebreaker for the Chilean Navy began in 2018 and the vessel will be delivered for service in 2023. Designed by Vard Marine of Canada, the ship is being built in accordance with the requirements of both the Navy and Chilean Antarctic operators, with sufficient capacity and appropriate characteristics to enable it to conduct logistic operations, scientific missions and search and rescue tasks in the Antarctic region.

With total investment running to US$216 million (€196 million), the ship will have a displacement of more than 10,000t, a length of 111m and a beam of 21m. Maximum speed will be 15kts and she will be able to embark a total of 120:86 crew and 34 scientists. She will also have equipment and systems able to provide environmental protection in all operational areas, mitigating marine pollution, the effects of potential accidents involving other vessels and the ability to control fuel spills, ballast water and wastewater.

Santiago Rivas and Florencia Lucero Heguy

A representative image of the icebreaker now under construction at ASMAR. (Image via authors)

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