By Carolina Contreras/Diálogo August 22, 2016 The Chilean Navy has incorporated a new oceanic patrol vessel that has logistical control, surveillance, and maritime rescue capabilities. It is operating in the country’s southern region, including Antarctic territory. The fourth patrol boat, called OPV 84 “Cabo Odger,” was fully built by the Chilean company “Astilleros y Maestranza de la Armada” (ASMAR; “Naval Armory and Shipbuilding,” in English). The OPV 84 “Cabo Odger” involved an investment of approximately US$60 million. It was conceived as part of the Chilean Navy’s Danubio IV Project, which calls for the construction of six such patrol vessels for use in patrols; surveillance; controlling and combating pollution; maintaining navigational aids; providing support to remote areas; and for use as a maritime search and rescue service covering the entire Exclusive Economic Zone (ZEE) from the North to the South of the country. To date, the following are in operation: the OPV 81 “Piloto Pardo,” built in 2008 for use in the 2nd Naval Zone of Talcahuano, in the South of the country; OPV 82 “Comandante Toro,” completed in 2009 and commissioned in the 4th Naval Zone, Iquique, in the North; and the third OPV 83 “Marinero Fuentealba,” incorporated into the service of the Navy in 2014 in the 3rd Naval Zone, home port of Punto Arenas, at the southern tip of the country. “Cabo Odger” will operate in the 5th Naval Zone, Puerto Montt, in the South.It was officially inaugurated on August 3rd during an official christening ceremony at ASMAR’s industrial plant in Talcahuano. “We have the birth of a new boat into the service of the country,” said Admiral Enrique Larrañaga, Navy Commander in Chief, during the launching ceremony. He was also accompanied by Chilean President Michelle Bachelet and Chile’s Minister of Defense, José Antonio Gómez. Technical Capacities It took a year and three months to finish building this patrol boat, which has a crew of 34 people and capacity for 20 passengers. It has a length overall (LOA) of 80.60 meters; a beam of 13 meters; a moulded depth of 16.5 meters; and a draft of 3.8 meters. It resists a load of 1,771 metric tons, can reach a maximum speed of 20 knots, and can navigate autonomously for 30 days. Due to the operational demands it will have, the OPV 84 was given greater versatility. So, for example, it is able to navigate in cold climates and in pre-Antarctic waters thanks to its “ice class” reinforced hull, which is thicker at the bow and allows for the necessary preparation of ballast tanks and systems to operate in low temperatures. Its detection capacity was also increased: it consists of a new integrated communications system designed and constructed domestically. In addition, its command and control capacity was increased in order to operate in oceanic patrol and rescue missions and to support operations during emergencies or disasters. This modern patrol boat will have a working range of 8,000 nautical miles (14,800 kilometers). In support of its work, the boat has a flight deck to operate a mid-sized helicopter and its respective hangar, as well as two semi-rigid boats for boarding and searching vessels. “To improve its capacities, [the OPV 84] added an important series of modifications with respect to its original design,” said Rodrigo Sazo, head of Public Relations for ASMAR. The fourth patrol boat is named in honor of Chilean Navy Corporal Leopoldo Odger Flores, who is considered a hero for losing his life in 1965 while attempting to rescue his fellow sailors who were shipwrecked while doing work similar to what the new OPV will be doing in the country’s southern waters. After the launching ceremony for the OPV 84, the equipment launch will be carried out, the sensors will be integrated, and later the boat will be tested in port and at sea to make sure that it is one hundred percent operative by next year. New Challenges for ASMAR The OPV 84 “Cabo Odger” is the second patrol boat that is being constructed at the ASMAR Industrial Plant in Talcahuano, which has fully recovered after suffering serious damage during the February 27, 2010 earthquake. “We are in the presence of a renovated ASMAR,” said Rear Admiral Andrés Fonzo Morán, ASMAR’s Director. “The plant underwent a profound modernization, and completing this fourth OPV is a reiteration of the fact that we have recovered our naval construction capacities,” he added. For ASMAR, naval construction is a branch of development that it would like to continue exploring. To this end, they have announced a construction project for the first icebreaker manufactured domestically for the Chilean Navy, called “Project Antarctic.” “It will be a large boat, robust, the equivalent of five times the tonnage of OPV-type boats, very specialized,” said Rear Adm. Fonzo. This project is in the basic engineering stage of development, which is being carried out by specialists from Canada. Once this phase is completed, the execution stage of the project will be initiated.
…says process already started to get regional, top-up listsNow that the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) has elected former Housing and Water Minister Irfaan Ali as its presidential candidate, all eyes will now be turned on who will be chosen as the prime ministerial candidate.According to PPP General Secretary Bharrat Jagdeo, who spoke to the media on Saturday, the next step is for the Party’s Executive Committee (Ex-Co) to start the process.“The Executive Committee will decide how soon we’ll get to that. We’ve already asked activists from across the country to start submitting names for the regional list, the top-up list and the geographic list. Because we need to be ready for nomination day, which we believe will be the second week in February,” Jagdeo said.“Because as you know, we are sticking with a March 19 deadline … that’s it. So, we not only have to initiate the process, which we have done for candidates. And there are thousands of those. But we also have to swiftly address the issue of the prime ministerial candidate.”Jagdeo noted that the Central Committee does have the power to change the methodology used to select the prime ministerial candidate. According to the General Secretary, however, no one has indicated that the model of selecting the prime ministerial candidate from the Civic side of the Party needs changing.“So, the prime ministerial candidate will come from the Civic. We still want that,” Jagdeo said. “But we have been broadening the Civic. There are thousands of people who want to come in. Some don’t want to be part of a formal Civic. Some want policy promises.“You will see the quality of the people who are coming to us and how diverse it is and who will be prominently featured on our campaign platform. So, we have a really good set of people from which we can choose a good prime ministerial candidate.”Already, possible candidates have been making their rounds in sections of the media. Such names include former Foreign Affairs Minister Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett and former Minister within the Finance Ministry, Bishop Juan Edghill.When contacted, Edghill would only admit that he has been contacted by various persons and told of his suitability to be the candidate. According to Edghill, he remained committed to the Party and was available to serve if called upon.Saturday’s presidential candidate election was conducted by way of secret ballot, after a week of speculation in the media and presentations to Party officials from the contenders. Immediately prior to the election, three candidates withdrew from the contest, leaving former Attorney General Anil Nandlall and Ali as the two contestants.There has been much speculation about some of these very contenders as potential PPP presidential candidates ever since the coalition Government fell to a no-confidence vote on December 21, thus having to call elections within 90 days from that date as per the Constitution.The no-confidence motion brought by the parliamentary Opposition – the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) – against the Government succeeded when Charrandas Persaud, a former Alliance For Change (AFC) parliamentarian, broke ranks and made a conscience vote in favour of the motion.With the passage of the no-confidence vote against the Government, the main political parties either began or intensified the task of identifying a presidential candidate. In addition, the upcoming election has also seen the emergence of new parties hoping for a share in the electoral votes.While Ali will represent the PPP as the presidential candidate, media reports on party affairs in A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) suggest that incumbent President David Granger will run for re-election.