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Rio De Janeiro (AFP) Sept 17, 2012
Three navy supply ships will head for Antarctica next month to begin rebuilding a Brazilian naval base destroyed by a deadly fire in February, Defense Minister Celso Amorim said Monday.
"Next month, with the end of the winter on the continent, our ships will set off to begin dismantling parts of the base affected by the fire," he said during a meeting of Latin American officials managing Antarctic programs.
The fire destroyed 70 percent of the Comandante Ferraz base, which was established in 1984 in Admiralty Bay, King George Island, near the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula.
The navy vessels will ferry temporary installations, which will be dropped on the heliport of King George Island, to be used by some Brazilian researchers, a defense ministry statement said.
Other Brazilian researchers will be stationed at Antarctic bases run by Argentina and Chile.
Amorim said the aim was to begin work on the new Brazilian base in November 2013.
He said President Dilma Rousseff was firmly committed to the reconstruction of the base and thanked South American countries for their assistance during the February emergency.
Malfunctioning electrical generators were believed to have caused the blaze.
Scientists working under the Brazilian Antarctic Program use the navy base to study global warming, as well as coastal and marine ecosystems.
About 30 countries operate Antarctic stations.
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