Chile is considering erecting a permanent pier for tourism and scientific research at one of its bases in Antarctica, Agence France-Presse reports. Government officials said Friday they are looking into whether the move would be logistically feasible.
The Ministry of Public Works will explore possible locations in Fildes Bay on King George Island, which encompasses the town of Villa Las Estrellas and the Presidente Eduardo Frei Montalva base. The base is about 2,000 miles south of the capital, Santiago.
The explorative study will also look into what kind of environmental impact the pier will have on the area.
“The pier will be located strategically, where many Chilean and foreign bases are located,” José Retamales, director of the Chilean Antartic Institute, told the Chilean newspaper El Mercurio.
The pier would also expand access to the island, which is surrounded by shallow waters. For visitors and shipments to reach the island, ships currently need to be anchored offshore and use dinghies to reach land. With the pier, more scientific equipment would be able to reach the island, benefiting research in the area, according to Chilean public works director Alberto Undurraga.
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The island is home to families of the armed services stationed at the Frei base, one of three Chilean bases in Antarctica. About 150 people live there in the summer and that figure drops to around 80 in the winter, according to AFP.