March 3, 2008

Venezuelan Researchers Arrive in Antarctica

Venezuelan scientists and military officers took part in the country's first visit to Antarctica. The 15-day voyage took the crew 2,300 miles over the span of 15 days before reaching its destination on Friday.

Oyarvide, the naval research ship, was provided by Uruguay despite criticisms aimed toward President Tabare Vazquez for his decision to allow the Venezuelan researchers aboard. Vasquez's aides referred to the allowance as a gesture of friendship.

The crew was composed of 11 scientists and five naval officers.

Upon arrival, the crew was met by high winds and choppy seas which hindered their ability to fully disembark.

"The Oyarvide arrived late Friday but only the mission chief, Uruguayan Navy Capt. Ricardo Young, and a Venezuelan naval official could disembark," Uruguayan army Maj. Juan Nunez told The Associated Press.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez intends to build a research station on the continent. During the current visit, the team will study various topics including climate change.

Chavez referred to the team as "pioneers" when he announced their journey last month.

The mission is expected to last 45 days overall. It was approved by Uruguay's congress.


On the Net:

Antarctic Treaty System