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Brazil lays the keel of polar ship NPo Almirante Saldanha

NPo Almirante Saldanha , pictured as a scale model, will contribute to the Brazilian Antarctic Program. (Victor Barreira)

Brazilian privately owned shipbuilder Estaleiro Jurong Aracruz (EJA) on 17 October laid the keel of NPo Almirante Saldanha (H22) polar ship of Brazilian Navy's Antarctic Support Ship (Navio de Apoio Antártico: NApAnt) project.

The ship's commissioning is scheduled for the second half of 2025, the navy said.

The project was awarded by Brazil's state-owned naval projects management house EMGEPRON (Empresa Gerencial de Projetos Navais) on 13 June 2022 for approximately USD150 million to Polar 1 Construção Naval, a consortium formed by EJA and Seatrium, following an international competition as part of the PROHIDRO programme.

The diesel-electric ship has a length of 103.16 m, a width of 18.5 m, and a draught of 6.3 m, for a displacement of 6,804 tonnes.

With a cruising speed of 15 kt, the vessel is to have an endurance of 70 days to accommodate 95 crew, which includes 26 scientists. The ship will be fitted with a hangar for helicopters, two large handling cargo cranes, a communications suite, research equipment, navigation radar systems, as well as space to accommodate containers and rescue boats.

Wärtsilä is to supply three W32 diesels, a diesel-electric power conversion system, and two bow thruster drive systems, as well as the power management system. Brunvoll will deliver rudders, two rim-driven tunnel thrusters, and a propulsion and thruster control system.

Simultaneously, NPo Almirante Saldanha's construction will contribute to further supporting the Brazilian Defence Technological and Industrial Base (DTIB) by generating up to 600 direct and 6,000 indirect jobs.

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