The Colombian Navy – Armada Nacional – will test icy waters after announcing plans to establish a naval base on Antarctica. According to commander-in-chief Admiral Ernesto Durán, five to 10 years is the allocated time frame for Colombia to establish a permanent presence on the icy continent with a base that will be shared with international scientists to monitor the effects of climate change.
Called the “Almirante Padilla Summer Scientific Station” in honor of the heroic seafaring admiral who fought in the Battle of Trafalgar and for independence from Spain, Durán explained that the strategic objective is part of the navy’s Colombia Antarctic Program (PAC), operational for more than three decades, and which is currently conducting the IV Scientific Expedition with researchers on board the ARC “20 de Julio.”
Colombia makes it once a year to Antarctica with its own ships, and an accomplishment only four nations in the world have achieved.
As a member nation of the Antarctic Treaty, the ARC “20 de Julio” has invited naval officers from Mexico, Spain, Peru, Ecuador, Argentina and New Zealand to work alongside them, as well as a team of Colombian scientists researching this remote continent’s biology, oceanography and geology. “What our scientists are learning in the waters of the Antarctica will help with the study of our own seas and rivers,” remarked Admiral Durán. The ARC “20 de Julio” is a fully-equipped ship for both military and scientific operations. A helicopter does photogrammetric mapping and zodiacs collect cold-water samples.
By working towards a permanent base on Antarctica, Colombia’s Navy is committed to find solutions to climate change and this, is fight worth navigating the most dangerous waters on earth.