ARA Almirante Irízar (Q-5)

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For the Argentine Navy Officer, see Julián Irízar.
Q5ARAAlmiranteIrizar.jpg
Career (Argentina)
Name: Almirante Irízar
Owner: Argentine Navy
Ordered: 1975
Builder: Wärtsilä, Helsinki, Finland
Launched: 1978
Acquired: 1975
Identification: IMO number: 7533628
Status: Undergoing repairs at Tandanor shipyard, Buenos Aires
General characteristics (as built)
Displacement: 14,899 tons[1]
Length: 121.3 m (398 ft)
Beam: 25.2 m (83 ft)
Draft: 9.5 m (31 ft)
Installed power: 4 × Wärtsilä-Pielstick 8PC2-5L (4 × 3,828 kW)
Propulsion: Diesel-electric; two shafts
Two DC propulsion motors (2 × 5,950 kW)
Two fixed-pitch propellers
Speed: 16.5 knots (30.6 km/h; 19.0 mph) (max)
3 knots (5.6 km/h; 3.5 mph) in 1 m (3.3 ft) ice[2]
Endurance: 60 days
Complement: 245[3]
Aircraft carried: 2 × H-3 Sea King, or
2 × Super Puma
Aviation facilities: Hangar and helipad
General characteristics (after refit)
Installed power: 2 × MAN diesel engines
Complement: 313[3]

The ARA Almirante Irízar is a large icebreaker of the Argentine Navy. She was built in Finland in 1975.[1]

The ship has been out of service since 2007, when a fire broke out in the auxiliary generator compartment. As of November 2012, the repairs should be completed by the end of 2013 at a cost of over US$100m.

Background[edit]

The ship was named after Julián Irízar. In 1903, when he held the rank of Lieutenant, he commanded the Argentine corvette ARA Uruguay during a successful mission to rescue the Swedish Antarctic Expedition of Professor Otto Nordenskjöld, after the expedition had been trapped by the Antarctic winter.[4]

The vessel was built at the Wärtsilä shipyard in Helsinki, Finland, under a contract signed in 1975 between the Argentine Navy and the shipyard. Irízar was launched in February 1978 and was formally commissioned on December that year, arriving in Argentina on 1979-3-23. She replaced the elderly icebreaker ARA General San Martín, which was then retired from active service.

Almirante Irízar's peacetime missions include annual campaigns to resupply and rotate the personnel assigned to the Argentine Antarctic outposts, as well as conducting and supporting scientific endeavors in Antarctica. She has also conducted several passenger tours to Patagonia and the Antarctic.

The ship's homeport is at the Argentine Navy's Buenos Aires Naval Anchorage (Spanish: Apostadero Naval Buenos Aires) in the capital city of Buenos Aires.

Service[edit]

ARA Almirante Irízar locked at her homeport in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
ARA Almirante Irízar as seen from above, showing hangars and landing deck.

During the Falklands War (Spanish: Guerra de Malvinas) the vessel served as a troop transport and then as a hospital ship,[4] a role for which her crew included medical personnel from the Argentine Army in addition to the naval medical staff.[citation needed] After the end of the war, she was used to return Argentine injured personnel back to the continent.[4]

The ship gained attention in 2002, when she attempted to rescue the trapped supply vessel Magdalena Oldendorff.[5][6][7][8] Even though Irízar failed to break the Magdalena Oldendorff free, she managed to move it to a safety position and resupply the ship with food, medicine and medical personnel until the ice melted and Magdalena Oldendorff could return to open sea.[9][10]

2004 Incident[edit]

On 15/16 March 2004, the ship entered a maritime area designated as conservation zones under the jurisdiction of the Falkland Islands and issued demands for other ships to identify themselves.[11] This prompted a protest from the British government to the Argentine government over its policing of seas under Falkland jurisdiction. The diplomatic note also re-asserted British sovereignty over the islands.[12]

2007 Fire[edit]

On 2007-4-10 at 22:00 UTC−03:00,[1] a fire broke out in the auxiliary generators compartment.[13] By midnight,[1] the captain Guillermo Tarapow had ordered the evacuation.[13] Argentine Navy and Argentine Coast Guard aircraft, including P-3 Orion and Hercules C-130 aircraft,[1] operated to keep track of the 24 lifeboats.[13] The 296 persons inside the icebreaker —including civilians of the Antarctic bases— were helped by the nearest ships, the Panamanian tanker Scarlet Ibis and a Uruguayan fishing vessel. The icebreaker was returning from its annual Antarctic summer campaign, and the incident took place some 140 miles (230 km) east of Puerto Madryn.[13]

The crew arrived safely to Puerto Madryn on 12 Apr There were no casualties.[14]

The vessel's captain had stood alone for almost 24 hours after seeing his crew safely abandoned the ship. Starting 11 April,[citation needed] destroyer ARA Almirante Brown,[15][16] corvettes ARA Granville,[16] and ARA Robinson,[15][16] avisos ARA Gurruchaga,[citation needed] ARA Suboficial Castillo,[15][16] and ARA Teniente Oliveri,[15][16] and Coast Guard PNA Thompson,[citation needed] surrounded the Icebreaker and began rescue operations. Buzos Tacticos and members of the Rescue Team (Spanish: Servicio de Salvamento) of the Argentine Navy boarded the ship and extinguished the fire. On 18 April, the ship started being towed to the Puerto Belgrano naval base.[17] Irizar finally arrived to Puerto Belgrano on 20 April.[18]

The fire caused the loss of the two Sea King helicopters stored in their hangar, worth US$18 million each.[19] These have been replaced by four Sea Kings transferred from the US government.

Following this incident the British government offered to supply Argentine bases in Antarctica in support of scientific missions, using HMS Endurance.[20] This offer was turned down by the Argentine government,[21] instead they leased the Russian icebreaker Vasily Golovnin for the subsequent Antarctic summer campaigns[22][23] at a cost of US$2m/month.[24] Dutch vessel Timca was hired for the 2012/3 campaign.[25][26] The Russian ship Vasily Golovnin will again carry out the following Antarctic campaign.[27]

Upgrade[edit]

The vessel undergoing repairs at Tandanor shipyard in 2011.

After a long period in Puerto Belgrano due to legal issues surrounding the incident, the Irizar finally arrived in Buenos Aires on 2008-9-3 to be taken to Tandanor's shipyard for repairs. Repairs were expected to be completed in 2010 but they have continued into 2011, and are supervised by Norwegian shipyward Aker Yards.[28][29] As of November 2012, the refit had costed over US$100 million and the ship was not expected to be ready until late 2013.[24] In April 2013 (2013-04), it was disclosed that the ship was still awaiting the necessary repairs and that sea trials had been delayed by a year, with oppositors claiming the money spent —some US$200 million plus another US$75 million in contracting supplying vessels[25]— could have been used to buy a new ship;[30] a month later, it was informed that works regarding control panels were still pending.[25]

The Tandanor shipyard is not just repairing the fire damage but also reconfiguring the vessel to increase the laboratory space from 74 m2 (800 sq ft) up to 415 square metres (4,470 sq ft). This will allow it to be used primarily as a research vessel in addition to its role of resupplying the southernmost Antarctic base Belgrano II.[3] The diesel engines will be replaced by two new ones purchased from MAN, in October 2011.[3][31][32] The main radar of the Irizar is also being repaired in Argentina by CITEDEF [33] Works are estimated to be finished by November 2011.[34]

Further reading[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e "Icebreaker "Almirante Irizar" ablaze in the South Atlantic". MercoPress. 11 April 2007. Archived from the original on 22 June 2014. 
  2. ^ "The world icebreaker, ice breaking supply and research vessel fleet". Baltic Ice Management. February 2011. Archived from the original on 24 April 2014. 
  3. ^ a b c d Gallo, Daniel (29 May 2011). "La reparación de un buque único" [The repair of a unique vessel] (in Spanish). La Nación. Archived from the original on 7 May 2012. Retrieved 2 November 2012. 
  4. ^ a b c "Irizar sets sail on second Antarctic rescue mission". MercoPress. 25 June 2002. Archived from the original on 22 June 2014. 
  5. ^ "Russian scientists reach safety". BBC News. 10 July 2002. Archived from the original on 7 May 2012. Retrieved 7 May 2012. "The Argentinian ice breaker Almirante Irizar is expected to be in the area on Thursday, and the officials said they were confident it would be able to break the ice and free the vessel." 
  6. ^ "Scientists rescued from Antarctic ship". BBC News. 2 July 2002. Archived from the original on 7 May 2012. Retrieved 7 May 2011. "Essential crew members, living on supplies brought by the helicopters, will remain on board the Magdalena until the arrival of the Argentine icebreaker Almirante Irizar." 
  7. ^ "Icebreaker joins Antarctic rescue". BBC News. 25 June 2002. Archived from the original on 7 May 2012. Retrieved 7 May 2012. "The Almirante Irizar will join a South African ship on the mission to rescue the Magdalena Oldendorff, a German vessel chartered by Russia, which has been frozen in a bay on the Princess Astrid Coast since 11 June." 
  8. ^ "Antarctic rescue mission begins". BBC News. 16 June 2002. Archived from the original on 7 May 2012. Retrieved 7 May 2012. "The rescue ship has a Russian expert specialising on polar navigation - known as an "ice-pilot" - and will be aided by an Argentine ice-breaker, the Almirante Irizar, which is set to depart from Buenos Aires soon." 
  9. ^ "El rompehielos Irízar regresa a casa" [The icebreaker Irízar goes back home] (in Spanish). BBC Mundo. 19 August 2002. Archived from the original on 2 November 2012. Retrieved 2 November 2012. 
  10. ^ Baig, José (30 July 2002). "El Oldendorff se queda en la Antártida" [The Oldendorff will stay in the Antarctica] (in Spanish). Buenos Aires: BBC Mundo. Archived from the original on 2 November 2012. Retrieved 2 November 2012. 
  11. ^ Brown, Bill (23 March 2004). "Falklanders anger over "Almirante Irizar" incident". MercoPress. Archived from the original on 22 June 2014. 
  12. ^ "29 Mar 2004 : Column WS51 – Falkland Islands: "Almirante Irizar"". Parliament.uk. Archived from the original on 22 June 2014. 
  13. ^ a b c d Serrat, Oscar (11 April 2007). "Crew Abandons Argentine Icebreaker". Buenos Aires: Washington Post. The Associated Press. Archived from the original on 22 June 2014. 
  14. ^ "Intentan evaluar los daños en el Almirante Irízar, tras el incendio en alta mar" [Damages aboard Almirante Irízar are being evaluated, following a fire open sea]. Clarín (in Spanish). 11 April 2007. Archived from the original on 7 May 2012. Retrieved 7 May 2012. 
  15. ^ a b c d "Aceleran los preparativos para remolcar al Irízar" [Preparations to tow the Irízar quickens] (in Spanish). Clarín. 17 April 2007. Archived from the original on 5 July 2012. Retrieved 5 July 2012. 
  16. ^ a b c d e "Olas de siete metros impiden el remolque del Irizar" [Waves seven meters high hinder the Irizar to be towed] (in Spanish). infobae.com. AFP, Télam. 16 April 2007. Archived from the original on 5 July 2012. Retrieved 5 July 2012. 
  17. ^ "Comenzaron a remolcar al rompehielos Irízar" [Icebreaker Irízar started being towed] (in Spanish). Clarín. 18 April 2007. Archived from the original on 5 July 2012. Retrieved 5 July 2012. 
  18. ^ "Llegó el rompehielos Irízar a Puerto Belgrano" [Icebreaker Irízar arrived at Puerto Belgrano] (in Spanish). La Nación. 20 April 2007. Archived from the original on 5 July 2012. 
  19. ^ Rodríguez, Fernando (12 April 2007). "Ardió el rompehielos Almirante Irízar" [The icebreaker Almirante Irízar burned out] (in Spanish). La Nación. Archived from the original on 5 June 2013. 
  20. ^ "British support to replace Argentina's stricken "Irizar"". MercoPress. 26 April 2007. Archived from the original on 2 November 2012. Retrieved 2 November 2012. 
  21. ^ "Reparar el rompehielos costará US$ 113 millones" (in Spanish). La Nación. 10 July 2007. Retrieved 12 July 2007. [dead link]
  22. ^ "Russian icebreaker ‘Vasily Golovnin’ supplying Argentine Antarctica bases". MercoPress. 8 February 2012. Archived from the original on 2 November 2012. Retrieved 2 November 2012. 
  23. ^ "Russian chartered polar vessel supports Argentine Antarctic 2010/11 campaign". MercoPress. 8 February 2011. Archived from the original on 2 November 2012. Retrieved 2 November 2012. 
  24. ^ a b "Argentine navy short on spares and resources for training and maintenance". MercoPress. 22 November 2012. Archived from the original on 4 January 2013. Retrieved 4 January 2013. 
  25. ^ a b c "Almirante Irizar en route to becoming another major scandal for Argentina’s navy". MercoPress. 20 May 2013. Archived from the original on 22 June 2014. 
  26. ^ "Argentine Antarctic campaigns disarray and corruption claims turn off recruiting". MercoPress. 18 May 2013. Archived from the original on 22 June 2014. 
  27. ^ De Vedia, Mariano (10 January 2014). "Llega un buque ruso para la nueva campaña a la Antártida" [Russian ship arrives for the new Antarctic campaign]. La Nación (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 22 June 2014. 
  28. ^ "El rompehielos Irízar llegó al puerto de Buenos Aires para ser reparado" [Icebreaker Irízar arrived in Buenos Aires to be repaired]. Clarín (in Spanish). 4 September 2008. 
  29. ^ "El rompehielos Irízar llega a Buenos Aires para ser reparado" [Icebreaker Irízar arrives in Buenos Aires to be repaired] (in Spanish). La Nación. 3 September 2008. Archived from the original on 2 November 2012. Retrieved 2 November 2012. 
  30. ^ "Argentina’s Antarctica flagship ‘Almirante Irizar’ remains ‘grounded’ in controversy". MercoPress. 12 April 2013. Archived from the original on 22 June 2014. 
  31. ^ "Argentine refurbished ice-breaker should be ready for 2012/13 Antarctic season". MercoPress. 29 May 2011. Archived from the original on 7 May 2012. Retrieved 7 May 2012. 
  32. ^ "El Irízar, más cerca de volver a navegar" [The Irízar is closer to navigate again] (in Spanish). infobae.com. 29 May 2011. Archived from the original on 2 November 2012. Retrieved 2 November 2012. 
  33. ^ La Armada Argentina solicitó una cotización para la reparación del radar del Irízar y ésta fue de 5.5 millones de dólares, mientras que el CITEDEF lo reparará por 1.3 millones de dólares
  34. ^ Gallo, Daniel (11 May 2010). "Un recorrido por las devastadas entrañas del rompehielos Irízar" (in Spanish). La Nación. Archived from the original on 5 June 2013. 

External links[edit]