Today in Transportation History – 1977: The Argentine Navy Gets a Cargo Ship

The cargo ship ARA Canal Beagle was launched in Buenos Aires. She was named after the Beagle Channel, a strait in Tierra del Fuego (an archipelago off the southernmost tip of the South American mainland). Canal Beagle was the first of three Costa Sur-class cargo ships built for the Argentine Navy to replace increasingly obsolete vessels in that military branch’s Naval Transport Service. The 393-foot-long Canal Beagle has a bulk cargo capacity of 340,000 cubic feet and a refrigerated cargo capacity of 7,400 cubic feet. In addition, the ship can carry up to 140 containers.

Just over six months after being launched, Canal Beagle was commissioned into the Argentine Navy and formally assigned to its Naval Transport Service with the pennant number B-3. The ship has since performed a variety of vital maritime activities. A notable example of these missions took place in 1989 after the polar transport vessel ARA Bahía Paraíso, while en route to resupply an Argentine research station in the Antarctic region, ran aground and sank in Arthur Harbour at Anvers Island (located off the coast of the Antarctic Peninsula). Canal Beagle was sent to the site of the shipwreck to remove hydrocarbons from Bahía Paraíso and thereby help reduce pollution in those waters.

In 2005, Canal Beagle was among the ships sent to the Argentine city of Mar del Plata as part of a naval deployment providing high-level security for the 4th Summit of the Americas being held there. Canal Beagle has also been extensively used in the Argentine Arctic Program, which supports Argentina’s widespread scientific research efforts in Antarctica and its surrounding seas.

For more information about ARA Canal Beagle (B-3), please check out

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