The Brazilian Navy’s oceanographic support vessel Ary Rongel, under the command of Captain Marcelo Luis Seabra Pinto, and the polar vessel Almirante Maximiano, under the command of Captain Newton Calvoso Pinto Homem, docked on April 30, at the Rio de Janeiro Naval Shipyard after concluding the 30th edition of Operation Antarctica (OPERANTAR XXX), which began on October 9, 2011. In the course of their mission, they visited the ports of Rio Grande (Rio Grande do Sul), Ushuaia (Argentina), Punta Arenas (Chile), and Montevideo (Uruguay).
During this period, the ships provided logistical support to Comandante Ferraz Antarctic Station, established scientific camps on the Antarctic continent, supported onboard research, and deepened the ties of friendship with friendly countries at the ports and bases they visited.
The researchers and crew onboard conducted research and scientific studies in the areas of oceanography, hydrography, biology, geology, anthropology, and meteorology, on topics such as the impact of global climate change in the region, anthropogenic changes in the Antarctic marine environment, environmental management, and modeling and dynamics of water masses in the polar regions, as well as the collection and analysis of oceanographic data.
Researchers working on a variety of projects carried out by the following institutions participated in the mission: Rio de Janeiro State University, Viçosa Federal University, the National Antarctic Science and Technology Institute of Environmental Research, Vale do Rio dos Sinos University, Minas Gerais Federal University, São Paulo University, the National Space Research Institute, and Santa Maria Federal University.
Hydrographic assessments were made during OPERANTAR XXX, over a distance of more than 170 nautical miles, enabling the development of more precise and reliable nautical maps, as well as research on the typical vegetation and birds of the region and projects on the anthropology of the pioneer communities of the 19th and 20th centuries.
In order to carry out these tasks in places of difficult access, in the harsh climate characteristic of the Antarctic continent, the ships used their reinforced hulls and their smaller vessels to disembark personnel and materials.
It is worth emphasizing that this type of missions foster privileged knowledge, enabling Brazil to participate in the select group of countries that make decisions about the activities and the future of the white continent.