The Hydro-oceanographic Ship (NHo) “Cruzeiro do Sul”, operated by the Hydrography and Navigation Directorate of the Brazilian Navy, docked, this Friday (10th), at the Port of Belém (PA). This is a strategic stop for the ship, which carries out research in support of the Brazilian Continental Platform Survey Plan (LEPLAC), a State program whose purpose is to determine the maritime area, beyond the limit of 200 nautical miles, in which the Brazil can exercise sovereign rights for the exploitation of natural resources on the sea bed and subsoil.

In this commission, the Ship’s tasks are to collect bathymetry data (measurement of depth of water masses) and shallow seismic (characterization of bottom and sub-sea bottom features), in order to reinforce the identification of the base of the slope (region steep slope), especially in the regions of the Pará-Maranhão megaslide and in the Brazilian North Chain.

“During this stage, we carried out, over about 1,600 nautical miles [approximately 2,900 kilometers], this work of collecting bathymetry data, using the EM-122 multibeam echo sounder, and shallow seismic data, using the SBP- 120, in order to contribute to the identification of the base of the slope, in order to assist LEPLAC claims with the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf, at the UN. The ship carried out these works on the Brazilian equatorial margin, basically in the oceanic region adjacent to the states of Ceará, Maranhão and Pará”, explains the Commander of the NHo “Cruzeiro do Sul”, Frigate Captain Claudio Luiz Pereira Batista.

The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea defines that the continental shelf of a coastal State comprises the bed and subsoil of the underwater areas that extend beyond its territorial sea, throughout the natural extension of its land territory, up to the outer edge of the continental margin, or up to a distance of 200 nautical miles.
The UN allows countries to expand their maritime limits, as long as they present studies that prove the extension of their continental shelf. The rule consists of determining, from the definition of the depth of the sea and the thickness of the sediment, up to where the natural extension of the submerged continental mass exists.

“Just as the Bandeirantes, in the old days, expanded to the west, in search of riches, and defined the borders to the west of Brazil, we are in a phase of determining the outer limit of our last frontier, to the east of Brazil, beyond of 200 nautical miles. This will be a legacy for future generations, as Brazil will have the opportunity of the right to sovereignty and exploitation of the mineral riches of the sea bed and soil and subsoil”, explains Commander Claudio.

Route The “Cruzeiro do Sul” suspended on February 6, from Pier Paulo Irineu Roxo Freitas, located at the Navy Hydrography Base in Niterói (RJ). The first stop was at the Port of Fortaleza (CE), where the vessel remained between February 17th and 22nd.

The Hydroceanographic Ship remains in the capital of Pará until the 14th of March, when it will depart for a new stopover in Fortaleza, Natal (RN), until the return to the Base, in Niterói, on the 20th of April.

Hydroceanographic Ship “Cruzeiro do Sul” With a crew of 66 soldiers, consisting of 11 Officers and 55 Privates, the Ship has the capacity to receive 16 researchers, who contribute to the development of research activities at sea.

“Cruzeiro do Sul” is 65.7 m long, beam (width) of 11 m and draft (all the part of the vessel that is submerged) of 6.5 m. It travels at a maximum speed of 9 knots (16.6 km/h). The vessel is equipped with two oceanographic winches for deep waters, two echo sounders, in addition to a meteorological station.