Chilean Icebreaker/Supply Vessel, plus Other News From Chile


Photo: New Chilean Icebreaker/Antarctic Supply Vessel.  

I recently had an exchange of emails with Andrés Tavolari, a lawyer and Chilean Marine Reserve Officer, who wrote one of our most popular posts, Three Nations Share German OPV Design.

He tells me Chile is building an icebreaker/supply ship. In terms of horsepower, it will be more powerful than the old Wind class icebreakers and only slightly less powerful than the Glacier. Our resident icebreaker expert, Tups, talked about this ship in a comment on an earlier post.

VARD is designing an icebreaker for the Chilean Navy:

One thing that puzzles me is the performance. 14.5 MW for 2 knots in 1 m ice? I mean, the bigger South African research vessel S. A. Agulhas II can do 5 knots with just 9 MW propulsion power (12 MW installed power).

My initial comment was that “Some times they just call out the minimum contract specs. Does not mean they might not be capable of more.” While that might be the case, there is an alternate possibility, perhaps the hull will not be strong enough to break heavier ice or to break one meter of ice at a faster rate. If you look at where Chile has their Antarctic stations, they are all about as far from the Pole as you can get and still be in Antarctica. Perhaps they do not need great icebreaking performance to accomplish their mission. Shaping very thick steel plate is undoubtably difficult and one of the more demanding aspects of building an icebreaker. Perhaps lighter plate is seen as a reasonable compromise.


Antarctic claims. This chart from Wikipedia Commons. 

Chile’s current icebreaker is the former Canadian Icebreaker CCGS Norman McLeod Rogers, which entered service originally in 1969.

Also of interest, the Chilean Navy magazine has published a special edition with some nice pictures regarding several naval and maritime activities. The text is written in Spanish, but it is mostly pictures and graphics. So the language doesn’t preclude understanding much of it.

Andres pointed out, on pages 36 and 37, there is a graphic with the ships and aircraft of the Navy. Among others there are 3 OPVs, 18 Protector class boats, 4 Grumete / Dabur class boats, 26 Archangel boats and 15 Defender boats, and 3 C-295 Persuader MPA and 8 HH-65 Dolphin helicopters. All in all, there are 22.000 men and women in the navy, including some 2.800 marines. The icebreaker is illustrated on page 44.

On page 45 there is some information regarding the OPVs project called “Danubio”. This is a continuation of the OPV project Andres posted about earlier.

Andres also sent along some information about their Navy’s Shipyard, in the form of a power point presentation including some pictures of the damage suffered by the 2010 tsunami, and its reconstruction (slides 19 – 26). Slide 39 covers the icebreaker.

We also talked a little about the organization of Chile’s Coast Guard counterpart, DIRECTEMAR. It is a part of the Navy organization. While heads of DIRECTEMAR have gone on to head the Navy, these officers have not come up through the ranks in DIRECTEMAR, they have been regular Navy officers.

DIRECTEMAR’s counterpart to our WPBs are the 16 Danubio Class, delivered 1999-2004.

  • 125 tons fl
  • 25 knots
  • 33.1×6.6×1.9 meters or 109x22x6.2 feet
  • one 12.7mm
  • 2 MTU 16V2000 M90 diesels 3,200HP
  • 2 off, 8 enlisted
Many of DIRECTEMAR’s small boats will look familiar. They have a number of USCG type boats procured through Foreign Military Sales, which have proven effective in countering illegal fishing activities.

11 thoughts on “Chilean Icebreaker/Supply Vessel, plus Other News From Chile

  1. While in theory you have a point with the level of ice strengthening in the hull, I doubt that is the case with the Chilean icebreaker. Even in the Finnish-Swedish ice class rules, which are intended for merchant ships that rely primarily on icebreaker escort, the level of ice strengthening in the hull is based also on the available propulsion power of the vessel. In case of icebreakers, the vessel should be strong enough to operate in ice at full power without risking structural damage. Of course, if the captain is hell-bent on sinking his ship, it’s always possible to find a way to get severe ice damage, but I’m obviously talking about normal operations.

    I guess the wording in the original article was a bit misleading. I don’t think the vessel needs all that power to fulfill the design icebreaking capability (2 knots in 1 m ice) assuming it’s generally well-designed for ice operations. I don’t know how many generating sets the vessel has, but it could as well be that they want it to be capable of fulfilling the required operational capability with one engine offline. After all, they were talking about installed power of the power plant, not the propulsion power.

    • Of course, after sending the comment, I looked at the picture you posted and noticed that the vessel has two 5000 kW propulsion motors powered by four 3400 kW generating sets.

      Still, the South African vessel S. A. Agulhas II has 9 MW on the shafts and, despite being somewhat larger, is faster in both open water (16 knots vs. 15 knots) and ice (5 knots vs. 2 knots in 1 m ice) according to public specs.

  2. Andres sent me some more information about the Chilean counterpart for the Coast Guard and how it is organized with their naval services.

    This document shows graphically the different uniforms currently used by the Chilean Navy: file:///C:/Users/Home/Downloads/Uniformes%20de%20la%20Armada%20de%20Chile.pdf

    Regarding to your questions on your last e-mail, DIRECTEMAR is a different “service” inside the Navy, but they wear the same uniform, with minimal differences: a different pin for the officers (as in the Marines) and a different speciality badge on the arm for the NCOs.

    Another difference comes with the way you write the ranks: for the DIRECTEMAR you have to add “LT” after the rank. “LT” means “Litoral”, as the name of the DIRECTEMAR, was “Dirección del Litoral”.

    The Marines have more differences to the “Naval” personal of the Navy. Although the officers have the same uniform and just a different pin, the NCO under the rank of Sergeant wear a different uniform, with a different cap, a different jacket and a white belt. Sergeant and above wear the same uniform, with a small difference: a thin red line on the side of the trousers.

    Here is a link to the admiral of the Chilean Navy:

    There is one admiral, 6 vice-admirals, 25 rear-admirals (perhaps to many…), and 2 Commodores.

    As you will see, vice-admiral Osvaldo Schwarzenberg is “Director General del Territorio Marítimo y Marina Mercante”, the head of the DIRECTEMAR. As I told you, he is a “Naval” Officer, actually a “submariner”. If you click on his name, you can read his resume.

    There are 2 rear-admirals from the DIRECTEMAR: CA LT (Contraalmirante – rear admiral – Litoral) Otto Mrugalsky and CA LT Mario Montejo.

    You can also see that there are some others CA (rear admirals) with “letter” after the rank: IM (Infantería Marina / Marine Infantry), AB (Abastecimiento / Supply-Logistic), SN (Sanidad / Medical Officer), JT (Justicia / lawyer … always to many, haha), RN (Reserva Naval / Naval Reserve).

    Here is a link to our Naval Academy (Escuela Naval) and its officers:

    You will find, in some cases, after the rank, the same letters: IM (Marine), AB (Supply-Logistics), LT (DIRECTEMAR).

    On the attached pdf you will see the different uniforms. Regarding DIRECTEMAR, on page 30, you will see a Sargent and a Sailor. The uniform is the same as in the rest of the Navy, with just a difference: on the left arm they wear a “speciality badge” which shows that they belong to the DIRECTEMAR. (Marines are on page 32: a Sergeant and a Private)

    “Speciality badges” are on page 51. The speciality badge of DIRECTEMAR is on the 6th row on the far right. It is a anchor with a patrol craft on it and the word “Litoral”.

    You might notice some British influence in the uniforms. There is a long history of cooperation between the Chilean Navy and the Royal Navy. Perhaps the next cutter that does an exercise with Chilean forces will find this useful.


  4. Air Platforms

    DSEI 2017: ASMAR completes basic engineering for new icebreaker, gears up for construction

    Kate Tringham – IHS Jane’s Navy International
    12 September 2017

    Chile’s state-run shipyard ASMAR is nearing completion of the design and basic engineering of a new icebreaker for the Chilean Navy.

    The new Polar PC5 ice-class Antarctic support ship, dubbed Antártica 1 , is intended to replace the Chilean Navy’s Type 1200 survey ship Contre-Almirante Oscar Viel Toro , which was commissioned in 1960 and is scheduled to decommission in 2020.

    Speaking to Jane’s at Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI) 2017 in London on 12 September, Joaquin Varela, corporate commercial manager for ASMAR, said the basic engineering phase for Antártica 1 would conclude in October. Design work has been carried out by Canadian company Vard Marine under a USD4.4 million contract awarded in February 2016.

    To read the full article, Client Login
    (116 of 457 words)

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