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Brazil to build 600 boats to transport schoolchildren

October 31st, 2009

Brazilian NavyBrazil’s navy has announced that it will build 600 boats that will be used to transport students to public schools in areas where the main communication routes are via rivers or across other water bodies.

The so-called ‘school-launches’ will be build at three navy bases with shipyard capability, according to an agreement between the Naval Engineering Directorate and the education ministry.

The accord forecasts the production of up to 3,000 boats for student transport, but the initial contract includes just 600 boats.

The navy’s decision to build the boats is aimed at spurring naval construction in Brazil and taking advantage of the available industrial capacity on naval bases, according to the communique Thursday.

The boat-building project was signed by navy engineers, who committed themselves to delivering the first 180 of the boats next year, another 360 in 2011 and the remaining 60 in 2012.

Half the launches will be built at the Val-des-Caes navy base, another 200 at the Natal base and the remaining 100 at the Aratu base.

The aluminium boats will be outfitted with 90-horsepower engines and will be 7.3 meters long.

The education ministry says the boats will benefit public school students in 208 municipalities, some of which are only accessible via boat or aircraft.

Among the municipalities to benefit from the programme is Breves, in the Amazon state of Para and where the majority of students in its 225 schools depend on river transport to go to class.

In at least 65 of the 143 municipalities in Para, students go to school in canoes and boats, half of them operated by private individuals and the cost of which has to be paid for by the municipalities or by their parents.

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