Our Vessels

The study of the Argentine coast and sea involves research work from various disciplines including meteorology, geology, oceanography, and coastal and marine biodiversity.

The National Scientific and Technical Research Council (CONICET) and the Ministry of Defense, through the ‘Naval Hydrography Service’ (SHN), have agreed to form a platform for hydro-oceanographic studies with the CONICET vessels Puerto Deseado and Austral -to operate on the high seas-, and the SHN’s ARA Comodoro Rivadavia- to do it up to 50 miles from the coast.

In order to coordinate these actions, in 2011 the Hydrographic and Oceanographic Research Support Unit (UNIHDO, CONICET -Ministry of Defense) was created, which is under the orbit of the CONICET Mar del Plata Scientific and Technological Center.

From 2009, the Puerto Deseado Oceanographic Vessel (BOPD) has carried out campaigns on various topics such as the ecology of marine biodiversity, birds survey, fish and crustaceans, marine geology-seismic lines, microbial biodiversity, studies of tides and currents from the coasts of Brazil to Beagle Channel.  Besides, more than 250 researchers and professionals from Universities and Research Institutes from all over the country have participated.

It is worth mentioning that the BOPD is a fundamental tool for the National Commission of the Outer Limit of the Continental Shelf (COPLA) of the Argentine Foreign Ministry, whose task is precisely to set the outer limit of the Argentine Continental Shelf.

Furthermore, the Vessel contributes to the campaigns of the South Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (SAMOC) program to enhance the understanding of the effects of global change and climate variability on the oceanic, atmospheric and terrestrial ecosystems of the western sector of the South Atlantic.

Periodically, the Summer Antarctic Campaign is carried out in which around 90 researchers participate in the scheduled sections together with the National Antarctic Directorate and its Argentine Antarctic Institute (IAA).

The CONICET Oceanographic Vessel “Austral” is operated by personnel from the Naval Hydrography Service (SHN), and together with the oceanographic Vessels “Puerto Deseado” and “Costero Comodoro Rivadavia” make up the Support Unit for Hydrographic (UNIHDO) of shared operation between CONICET and the Ministry of Defense. The oceanographic campaigns are coordinated jointly between the CONICET, the SHN and the National Antarctic Directorate (DNA).

In 2021, the Shenu Scientific Vessel joined the CONICET fleet of vessels. It was conceived as a vessel with the capacity to carry out marine research and support other CADIC disciplines and associated institutions in the Beagle Channel area.

The ship joins the fleet of CADIC and the Pampa Azul Initiative. Besides, it will be part of the long-term Marine Observation Network (Red ROMA), as well as of the joint activities that are developed within the framework of the binational collaboration in marine sciences with Chile. The ship will be operated with the support of the Argentine Navy.

With the operation capacity to navigate the Beagle Channel, including the Isla de los Estados area, the Shenu will serve as a platform related to oceanography (physical chemical and biological), the study of the deep sea ecosystem, coastal geology, hydrocaustics and assessment of local living resources.

CONICET organizes its oceanographic campaigns within the framework of the following regulations:

-Law 27,167 – National Program for Research and Productive Innovation in Argentine Maritime Spaces —PROMAR—or Pampa Azul initiative.

-Law 26,875 that created the Namuncurá Marine Protected Area – Burdwood Bank.

-Treaties –such as the Antarctic- and International Conventions that include scientific research as their main task.

By agreement of the member institutions of Pampa Azul -meeting on 12/21/2015- the campaigns will be organized as follows:

  1. Carrying out an initial preparatory or updating workshop for each of the priority areas of the Pampa Azul initiative.
  2. Call for Ideas-Project of those groups that would like to contribute complementary activities not contemplated or update those proposed in the workshop.
  3. Analysis of the project-ideas received by the Working Group from each priority geographical area in particular and compatibility of the different activities proposed for the campaign.
  4. Appointment of the scientific chief of the campaign.
  5. Logistics organization.
  6. Campaign development.
  7. Administration and preservation of the product of the campaign (samples, data, etc.).

For more information contact: cienciasdelmar@conicet.gov.ar