The Brazilian shipbuilding company, Estaleiro Jurong Aracruz, has embarked on the construction of the first support vessel aimed at bolstering operations within the Antarctic region. A budget of $150 million has been allocated for this endeavor, as reported by Sarbaz.kz, citing local media sources.
The ceremonial metal cutting and commencement of ship construction took place in May 2023 in the Brazilian port city of Aracruz.
Named "Admiral Saldanha," the vessel is slated to eventually replace the oceanographic ship "Ary Rongel." Currently, the Ary Rongel carries out tasks as part of the Brazilian "Proantar" program, initiated in 1982 to explore Antarctica. Its decommissioning is scheduled for 2025.
The new vessel is intended for the transport of personnel, research groups, as well as equipment and machinery to the Comandante Ferraz Antarctic Station, situated in Admiralty Bay on King George Island. Additionally, it will be tasked with oceanographic studies of the waters along its voyage route and return journey.
The shipbuilding consortium "Polar-1" has been granted a three-year timeline for construction. The project's estimated cost amounts to approximately $150 million.
Per the terms of the contract with the Brazilian Navy, the "Admiral Saldanha" must be capable of navigating in the seas surrounding Antarctica during the summer-autumn period, including ice-prone areas. This necessitates a specialized hull design and the incorporation of an additional belt of specialized steel below the waterline.
With a displacement of 6,804 tons, the ship will feature two cranes located on the bow and stern deck sections. The vessel's design also includes a hangar capable of accommodating two UH-17 helicopters, intended for operations in the Antarctic environment.