Colombia will send a ship on a scientific research expedition to Antarctica for the first time in mid-December to probe climate and health issues, organizers said Saturday.

A total of 21 researchers from Colombia and other countries will travel on the ARC 20 de Julio to research physiological changes triggered by acclimation to extremely cold conditions, as well as the links between the El Nino phenomenon, and sea and climate safety. The Navy-led expedition will “initiate the second phase of Colombia’s National Antarctic Program, which designates its own ships to travel to the ‘white continent’ for ongoing scientific research,” a statement said.

The OCV-80 ocean patrol cruiser is considered by international shipbuilding industry experts as an “example of Colombia’s maritime industry.”