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Brazil starts construction of Antarctic support ship

The NApANt Alimirante Saldanha Antarctic support ship is scheduled to be commissioned by the Brazilian Navy in 2025. (EMGEPRON)

The Brazilian privately owned shipbuilder Estaleiro Jurong Aracruz (EJA) officially marked the start of construction of the NApAnt Almirante Saldanha (H22) Antarctic support ship for the Brazilian Navy on 9 May with the first steel cut of the ship at the company's shipyard located in Aracruz, State of Espírito Santo.

The ship, which is scheduled to replace the NApOc Ary Rongel (H44) oceanographic support ship in 2025, is expected to operate in the Antarctic Continent in support of the Brazilian Antarctic Program (PROANTAR).

Brazil intends to use the ship to lift military personnel, researchers, and equipment to the Comandante Ferraz Antarctic Station (EACF) located at Admiralty Bay on King George Island.

The ship was purchased by the Brazilian state-owned firm EMGEPRON (Empresa Gerencial de Projetos Navais) from the consortium Polar 1 Construção Naval on 13 June 2022 for approximately USD150 million as part of the Brazilian Navy's PROHIDRO programme.

The ship displacing 6,804 tonnes will be equipped with a bow crane and a stern crane. A hangar will be made available to accommodate two UH-17 helicopters of the Squadron Águia.

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