Prefectura Naval Argentina’s SB-15 “Tango” salvage cutter is carrying out a pollution prevention campaign in the South Atlantic Ocean. After patrolling the Argentine Sea, it successfully arrived at “Carlini” Base in Antarctica, where it will remain for two days.
Subsequently, the cutter will continue navigating until reaching “Brown” Base, calling at “Decepción” Base, where it will be anchored for two more days.
It will then resume navigation in order to return to the continent, calling at Staten Island and Ushuaia port, where it will charge fuel and provisions in order to proceed to the Buenos Aires port, its final destination.
With 43 crewmembers on board, the cutter set sail from the Buenos Aires port on January 15th, navigating through the 200 miles of the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) until reaching the port of Ushuaia (Tierra del Fuego), from which it sailed out towards the Antarctic Peninsula.
The purpose of this voyage is to patrol the Argentine Sea and to perform surveillance tasks in order to determine the behavior of the vessel and its navigation capability in polar waters and in the Antarctic area.
In this manner, the guidelines devised by the National Ministry of Security, headed by Minister Nilda Garré, are complied with.
The main functions of the cutter are the following: search and rescue tasks; fight against pollution and fires involving vessels, towing on the high seas and patrols in the Argentine Sea.
It is equipped with water pollution and fire fighting elements.
It also has a fixed hyperbaric chamber and a second alternative one, which are used to decompress divers and to treat illnesses caused by the different pressure changes.
Among its more prominent features, its versatility of maneuver is to be highlighted, as it has three propellers (two on the stern and one on the bow), two rudders and a draft of three meters.
Besides, it has a fixed bow structure and a system of tackles and sheaves for hoisting up to 15 tons. It has a winch for towing vessels with a capacity of 22 tons and a telescopic hydraulic crane with a range of maneuver of 13 meters.
It also has an integrated communication system in VHF, HF and Telex frequencies; two satellite communication systems for telephone, data and internet; two navigation and surface search radars; three auxiliary vessels; two pump rooms for fire fighting and equipment to disperse contaminating stains.
The cutter was built in the United States in the year 1969 as a multi-purpose research and supply ship. It is 50.29 meters long and 10.67 meters wide, and was acquired by Prefectura in 2005.
In 1995 it was acquired by Nate Navegación y Tecnología S.A., registered in the national register under the name “Tango” and subsequently hired by the oil company PAN AMERICAN to operate in the area of Río Grande (Tierra del Fuego).
It was destined to perform assistance tasks for mooring and connection of hoses of tankers loading crude oil at maritime terminals installed in San Sebastián Bay, as well as supply tasks to oil exploration and drilling rigs.
In the year 2005, the president of Nate Navegacion y Tecnología Marítima S.A. sold the cutter to the National State - Prefectura Naval Argentina.
Since then, the institution took possession of the cutter and appointed a temporary crew to sail it from the port of Río Grande (Tierra del Fuego) to the port of Caleta Paula (Santa Cruz), where the first repair tasks were performed, such as maintenance of the hull and repair of the two shaft lines.
In 2006, the cutter was taken to the port of Buenos Aires, where repair and conditioning tasks continued and a new series of more complex works was started.
Considering the maritime jurisdiction in which this vessel will carry out its specific service and mission, it was identified as salvage cutter PNA SB-15 “TANGO”, depending from Prefectura Naval Argentina’s Salvage, Fire and Environmental Protection Service (SERSIPA, as per its acronym in Spanish)