With the launch of the new icebreaker ship “Almirante Viel”, at the industrial plant of the Navy Shipyards and Maestranzas (ASMAR) in Talcahuano, the first stage of this Unit concluded, which began in May 2017 and involved a workforce of more than 800 workers and an investment of 210 million dollars.
Very exciting moments were lived after 10:40 p.m., this Thursday, December 22, when the doctor in ecology and environmental sciences from the University of Magallanes, Pamela Santibáñez, godmother of the unit, complied with the naval tradition and brought it to life in Symbolically, by breaking a bottle of champagne in its hull and later the 10,500-ton naval work, it moved through the construction slipway of the ASMAR Talcahuano shipyard until it touched the waters for the first time, being greeted with whistles and sirens coming from from the other units that were in the Bay of Concepción.
The godmother of the ship, once it was in the water, commented that “I believe that there are three milestones that are occurring, Chile has two unique singularities in the world, the first is the northern skies with our astronomical centers and the another is our proximity to Antarctica, there are 25 international programs that enter from Punta Arenas and that is because we are very close to Antarctica, many people from many areas participated here, which shows us once again that Chile has talent and capabilities. It is a tremendous honor to be here and to be the godmother of this ship.
The ceremony was presided over by the Minister of National Defense Maya Fernández accompanied by the Commander in Chief of the Chilean Navy, Admiral Juan Andrés de la Maza, national civil and military authorities, regional, Naval High Command Officials and guests from various areas of the national task.
Faced with such a significant act, the Minister of Defense said that “I believe that this is a night that makes the homeland, that we make sovereignty, a night in which we feel proud. I want to once again congratulate the workers of ASMAR, the Navy, I think this is a great night for the country, what has happened here has moved us all”.
For his part, the Commander in Chief of the Navy, Admiral Juan Andrés De La Maza began his words by thanking all the ASMAR personnel who participated in the construction, “this is a ship that is delivered to the national and international scientific community who is going to do science on the White Continent, where we have had sovereignty for practically 100 years. Therefore, it is a source of pride for us as an Institution to be reaching a happy conclusion today in this process”.
This Antarctic scientific ship is the largest built in the country, with the capacity to transport not only its future crew but also more than 30 scientists who will be able to operate on board. For this reason, this unit will mean a contribution to scientific research, in the areas of oceanography and hydrography, for the study of marine biomass and fauna, since it will be equipped with a high and medium depth multibeam echosounder, search sonar omnidirectional, oceanographic winches and microbiology, macrobiology and chemical laboratories.
In the area of logistics, it will have the capacity to transport 19 20-foot containers, 400 m3 of fuel load, pallet load and will be equipped with a self-propelled boat and cranes with a lifting capacity of 25 tons.
To comply with search and rescue tasks (SAR operations) it will have the capacity to operate with two medium helicopters and two rescue and rescue boats.
When the icebreaker enters service, which is planned for August 2024, it will be a ship of national pride, because in addition to contributing to the development of science, technology, scientific research, logistics, rescue work and the surveillance of Antarctic waters, will have been a project that allowed training professionals, generating jobs, promoting a pole of regional development and will represent an important step to address larger-scale projects of the Continuous National Shipbuilding Plan.
Within the framework of the christening and launching ceremony of this new Unit, the Director of ASMAR, Rear Admiral Jaime Sotomayor highlighted “before your eyes is the largest and most complex ship built in Chile, which will soon give space for the construction of two amphibious and logistics transport ships within the framework of the Escotillón project. This is the new challenge of the national shipbuilding that will allow the operational capacities and especially the national workforce to be occupied, giving continuity to the Shipbuilding Plan”.
Meanwhile, the Director General of Navy Services, Vice Admiral Pablo Niemann indicated that “today we are convinced that the icebreaker will also contribute to important tasks and achievements for the future and prosperity of our country.”
The Evangelical Chaplain Hugo González together with the Chaplain of the Second Naval Zone, Lieutenant Commander Rafael Providell and the Catholic Chaplain of the Palacio de la Moneda Nicolás Viel, who is a descendant of Admiral Viel, blessed the ship and implored God for his protection. to be the guide of this new Navy unit and its endowments, and thus successfully fulfill the tasks entrusted to it.