Brazil Opens New Base in Antarctica

Station was partially destroyed in 2012 by fire; After adjustments, 100% operation will only occur in April


Eight years after a fire destroyed part of Comandante Ferraz Station and left two dead, and three years after the start of the reconstruction work, Brazil will open its new base for scientific research in Antarctica on Tuesday (14).

The station, however, will operate at 100% after three months, when the testing phase will end.

Several adjustments, such as laboratory temperatures, are being made. The internet also does not work correctly. On Sunday (12), guests began arriving at Comandante Ferraz Station, including 17 journalists, and the network started to have connection failures. According to support staff, demand four times the capacity of the network.

Comandante Ferraz Station - Divulgação Marinha do Brasil

For now, the base routine happens in emergency modules assembled after the fire. The kitchen, refectory, infirmary, and other facilities still work there. The place houses 62 people.

"We are testing everything. Once the inauguration is over, we will continue with the training of the base group [who will manage the station] to operate the station. For now, it is in the hands of our Navy engineers and about 70 Chinese. In March, they leave, and it's up to us. Anything new can be a bit of a problem, "says Navy Reserve Supervisor Geraldo Juaçaba Filho, the site's overseeing manager.

Navy corvette captain and station deputy chief Rafael Santana da Rocha said that this initial phase of adjustments was already foreseen in the contract. "The season is in the commissioning phase. The group qualification continues until the end of summer," he said.

This means that the people who will touch the base, which has far more technological resources than the previous one, are still in training.

Translated by Kiratiana Freelon

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