Two years ago a fire destroyed the Brazilian Antarctic research station know as Comandante Ferraz base on King George Island. Plans were made to reconstruct the base until the Antarctic summer of 2015. A new architectural project was developed by Brazilians and it was chosen by the Navy in a contest. Last year the Navy opened a construction bidding to select a company to rebuild the base. Yesterday was the last day to bid, but no one showed up.
Companies from all over the world could take part if together with a Brazillian enterprise. People from the construction field speculate that the lack of interest in the bidding was because Brazilian enterprises doesn’t know how to build in such a hostile climate. Antarctica has the lowest temperatures on the planet, winds of up to 300 km per hour and 90% of its surface is covered by an ice cap 2,500 metres thick. Besides, the costs and the infrastructure needed to transport materials and people to the island would be too high.
The Navy didn’t announced what they will do from now on. Probably, they will be free to decide what company will build the station without a new bidding. But the selection process could take a wide and the delivery of the base could be delayed.
The project of the new station is estimated to cost around 146 million reais (60 millions dollars). The main building is expected to cover 4,500 sq. metres and other facilities, as wind turbines to produce electrical power and a heliport should cover 500 sq metres more. The new base will have 18 laboratories, seven isolated research units and a living space to lodge 64 people.
Meanwhile, Brazilian Antarctic researchers are sheltered in emergency modules made out of ship containers. There are six dormitories, one kitchen, a dinning hall and one laboratory. In addition, the Brazilian Navy has recent acquired a new research ship called Almirante Maximiano. Now the Antarctic researchers have two scientific ships where 20 studies are being conducted.