Chile’s New Icebreaker “Almirante Viel” Successfully Completes First Round Of Sea Trials

Polar icebreaker
Image Credits: Armada de Chile

On 19 April, Chile’s newest Polar icebreaker, “Almirante Viel”, successfully completed its first week of intense testing at sea.

The 10,500-ton Almirante Viel will replace the predecessor with the same title.

The former was constructed at the Vickers-Armstrong shipyard in Montreal, Canada, in 1969.

It served the Chilean Navy from 1995 until it was decommissioned in 2019.

The construction represents an essential milestone for Chile’s naval industry.

It is the first icebreaker to be constructed in the South Pacific and the greatest icebreaker ever built in South America.

Almirante Irizar of Argentina is similar in displacement, but it was constructed in Finland.

This project has cost Chile’s government roughly $210 million and involved an 800-person workforce in construction.

 Icebreaker
Image Credits: Armada de Chile

The state-owned ASMAR Shipyard constructed the vessel and was based on a VARD design.

The vessel displaces 10,500 tons, with adequate space for 34 scientists and the crew.

It is equipped with oceanography, microbiology, hydrography, and chemistry laboratories and a multibeam echo sounder for extensive seabed exploration.

It boasts a flight deck beside the hangar for two Airbus AS332L that help transport helicopters.

Following the first week at sea results, Chile’s President Gabriel Boric posted a congratulatory message to the navy through its X account.

His post talked about how it was a significant achievement for Chile.

Because of its proximity to Antarctica, Chile hopes to play a significant role in research and conservation with its 12 regional research sites.

Chile has also been a pioneer in supporting international trips to the frozen continent, with 22 nations using the Chilean Magallanes region as their port of entry into Antarctica.

The Chilean navy anticipates that the Almirante Viel will be a crucial element of Chile’s aspirations and help boost its position in Antarctic scientific exploration and maritime security.

Reference: Naval News

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