“Almirante Viel” Ice Breaker Building Project

“Almirante Viel” Ice Breaker Building Project

“Almirante Viel” Ice Breaker Building Project

Product: Shipbuilding Plate/ Bulb Flat

Quantity: 5,000 MT

Location: Chile

Project Story

Over the course of 6 years, from 2017 to 2022, CUMIC delivered over 5,000 MT of shipbuilding steel plates and bulb flats for Chile’s construction of its first and largest icebreaker to be built in Latin America. The Vessel, named Almirante Viel, is a tremendous milestone for the Chilean maritime industry, and we are proud to have played a role in its success.

Undertaken by a state-owned industrial plant, the vessel of this project is capable of breaking one meter of ice at a speed of three knots (3.3 km/h) with a length of 110 meters, making it ideal for performing a variety of tasks including search and rescue missions, scientific research, logistical support and delivering supplies to the Chilean Antarctic Territory base.

The 10,500-ton PC 5 vessel will be equipped with a multi-beam echosounder, omnidirectional search sonar, and multiple laboratories, accommodating 35 scientists and 86 crew members. Meanwhile, it is also capable of carrying 19 20ft containers and 400 cubic meters of fuel, as well as a crane with a lifting capacity of 25 tons.

With steel becoming an integral material in the shipbuilding industry, here are some of the most popular types of shipbuilding steel employed within the sector:

1) Shipbuilding Plates: When it comes to shipbuilding steel, one of the most essential qualities is the thickness of each steel plate. Shipbuilding plates are an ideal material choice for the shipbuilding sector, and must be able to withstand the corrosive effects prevalent in sea environment owing to the following strength:

1. Strong and durable

2. Resistant to impact and corrosion

3. Applications include barges, marine equipment and ship construction

4. Good weldability and formability

5. Excellent fatigue resistance and Low thermal expansion

2) Bulb Flats: Bulb Flats are characterized by their flat and equal thickness on both sides and their unique shape, which resembles a bulb. With the following properties, this shape adds stability to ship hull construction and minimizes the weight of the ship's hull structure:

1. Improved impact and corrosion resistance

2. Excellent welding performance

3. Good stability and dimensional accuracy

4. Low thermal expansion and high strength-to-weight ratio

5. Can be cut, bent, drilled, and welded easily

6. Cost-effective alternative to other shipbuilding materials


The Chilean Navy’s new will replace the old 6,300-ton icebreaker, which was in operation from 1995 to 2019, representing a major step forward for Chile's maritime industry. With the new vessel, experts will be able to explore the seabed at both high and medium depths, enhancing continuous monitoring and providing additional oceanographic information regarding the conditions in Antarctic.