Chilean Navy Receives a Patrol Boat and Increases its Capacities
By Carolina Contreras/Diálogo August 22, 2016The Chilean Navy has incorporated a new oceanic patrol vessel that has logistical control, surveillance, and maritime rescue capabilities. It is operating in the country's southern region, including Antarctic territory. The fourth patrol boat, called OPV 84 "Cabo Odger," was fully built by the Chilean company "Astilleros y Maestranza de la Armada" (ASMAR; "Naval Armory and Shipbuilding," in English). The OPV 84 “Cabo Odger” involved an investment of approximately US$60 million. It was conceived as part of the Chilean Navy's Danubio IV Project, which calls for the construction of six such patrol vessels for use in patrols; surveillance; controlling and combating pollution; maintaining navigational aids; providing support to remote areas; and for use as a maritime search and rescue service covering the entire Exclusive Economic Zone (ZEE) from the North to the South of the country. To date, the following are in operation: the OPV 81 "Piloto Pardo," built in 2008 for use in the 2nd Naval Zone of Talcahuano, in the South of the country; OPV 82 "Comandante Toro," completed in 2009 and commissioned in the 4th Naval Zone, Iquique, in the North; and the third OPV 83 "Marinero Fuentealba," incorporated into the service of the Navy in 2014 in the 3rd Naval Zone, home port of Punto Arenas, at the southern tip of the country. "Cabo Odger" will operate in the 5th Naval Zone, Puerto Montt, in the South.It was officially inaugurated on August 3rd during an official christening ceremony at ASMAR's industrial plant in Talcahuano. "We have the birth of a new boat into the service of the country," said Admiral Enrique Larrañaga, Navy Commander in Chief, during the launching ceremony. He was also accompanied by Chilean President Michelle Bachelet and Chile's Minister of Defense, José Antonio Gómez. Technical Capacities It took a year and three months to finish building this patrol boat, which has a crew of 34 people and capacity for 20 passengers. It has a length overall (LOA) of 80.60 meters; a beam of 13 meters; a moulded depth of 16.5 meters; and a draft of 3.8 meters. It resists a load of 1,771 metric tons, can reach a maximum speed of 20 knots, and can navigate autonomously for 30 days. Due to the operational demands it will have, the OPV 84 was given greater versatility. So, for example, it is able to navigate in cold climates and in pre-Antarctic waters thanks to its "ice class" reinforced hull, which is thicker at the bow and allows for the necessary preparation of ballast tanks and systems to operate in low temperatures. Its detection capacity was also increased: it consists of a new integrated communications system designed and constructed domestically. In addition, its command and control capacity was increased in order to operate in oceanic patrol and rescue missions and to support operations during emergencies or disasters. This modern patrol boat will have a working range of 8,000 nautical miles (14,800 kilometers). In support of its work, the boat has a flight deck to operate a mid-sized helicopter and its respective hangar, as well as two semi-rigid boats for boarding and searching vessels. "To improve its capacities, [the OPV 84] added an important series of modifications with respect to its original design," said Rodrigo Sazo, head of Public Relations for ASMAR. The fourth patrol boat is named in honor of Chilean Navy Corporal Leopoldo Odger Flores, who is considered a hero for losing his life in 1965 while attempting to rescue his fellow sailors who were shipwrecked while doing work similar to what the new OPV will be doing in the country's southern waters. After the launching ceremony for the OPV 84, the equipment launch will be carried out, the sensors will be integrated, and later the boat will be tested in port and at sea to make sure that it is one hundred percent operative by next year. New Challenges for ASMAR The OPV 84 “Cabo Odger” is the second patrol boat that is being constructed at the ASMAR Industrial Plant in Talcahuano, which has fully recovered after suffering serious damage during the February 27, 2010 earthquake. "We are in the presence of a renovated ASMAR," said Rear Admiral Andrés Fonzo Morán, ASMAR's Director. "The plant underwent a profound modernization, and completing this fourth OPV is a reiteration of the fact that we have recovered our naval construction capacities," he added. For ASMAR, naval construction is a branch of development that it would like to continue exploring. To this end, they have announced a construction project for the first icebreaker manufactured domestically for the Chilean Navy, called "Project Antarctic." "It will be a large boat, robust, the equivalent of five times the tonnage of OPV-type boats, very specialized," said Rear Adm. Fonzo. This project is in the basic engineering stage of development, which is being carried out by specialists from Canada. Once this phase is completed, the execution stage of the project will be initiated.