Vice-president re-inaugurates Brazil station in Antarctica

Brazil’s vice-President Hamilton Mourão is re-inaugurating the Comandante Ferraz station, a Brazilian research base in Antarctica, today (Wed. 15). The new building is located on King George island, an area of 4.5 thousand km² and boasts 17 laboratories and a capacity to house 64 people.

Originally slated for today (14), the re-inauguration ceremony was postponed. Due to weather conditions, the transport of authorities from Punta Arenas, Chile, to Antarctica could not be done.

Brazilian is part of a select group of 29 countries with scientific stations in Antarctica. This ensures the country plays an important role in the future of the icy continent, the Antarctic agreement says.

The original station was created in 1984. In 2012, a huge fire left two military agents dead and some 70 percent of its facilities destroyed. The Brazilian government invested approximately $100 million in rebuilding it, and the new unit received some of the world’s most advanced equipment. There, scientists are expected to conduct studies in biology, oceanography, meteorology, and anthropology.

“[The station] will provide better working conditions for our researchers and make sure we continue to take part in the work being done by the international scientific community, seeking answers and making strides in knowledge, technology and other fields. It also enables the Navy to do training in logistics and water transport, which are not that easy. We in the Bolsonaro administration see this moment with great happiness as we re-inaugurate the Comandante Ferraz station and reshape the work being conducted there,” the vice-president told Agência Brasil in an exclusive interview.

Estação Comandante Ferraz na Antártica

Comandante Ferraz station, a Brazilian research base in Antarctica, t – Mauricio de Almeida – TV Brasil


The station reconstruction project is fully Brazilian and was initiated in 2017 by Chine Electronics Import and Export Corporation, which won a contract with the government. The engineering firm had to split the project into three stages, as any external activity in Antarctica from April to October is impossible due to the harsh cold, the winter storms, and the strong wind. The company built modules in China during the winter and brought them to Antarctica in the summers of 2017, 2018, and 2019 to install them.

In order to stay on top of the layer of snow collecting in winter, the modules were installed on pillars weighing up to 70 tons, which rise the research center upwards of three meters from the ground.

Installed at every base unit are a fire doors as well as smoke detectors and fire alarms. In the rooms where the machines and generators are stored, the walls are made with an ultra-resistant material. In the event of a conflagration, they can withstand fire for two hours and they do not allow to spread through other places before the arrival of a fire team.

The station also features a wind plant and solar plates. The sun in Antarctica during summer shines for over 20 hours daily.

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