Russia’s Severny Polyus vessel on its way to the Arctic this month

A file photo of the Severny Polyus. (Admiralty Shipyards)

The installation that is to be able to drift autonomously for up to two years in thick Arctic sea-ice is on its way to Murmansk as part of its first voyage to the North.

The unique 83 meter long vessel that for the past two years has been under construction at the Admiralty Yard on the 2nd of September set out from St.Peterburg. It is the first voyage for the ship that by its constructors is described as a ‘platform.’

The Severny Polyus has the shape of a bathtub and will soon become a key tool in Russian Arctic research.

It is due to arrive in Murmansk on the 15th of September. Shortly afterwards, the platform will embark on a voyage to the New Siberian Islands, Minister of Natural Resources Aleksandr Kozlov informs.

“Already in the near future we will have reliable and full information about the North Role of our planet!” The minister says.

The Severny Polyus is capable of undertaking geological, acoustic, geophysical and marine research under the harshest of Arctic conditions. Even in temperatures down to minus 50°C it is believed to be able to provide comfortable living and working conditions for researchers and crew.

Goal to test equipment 

On board are 15 labs where researchers can work year-round.

During this year’s expedition, the vessel is to test its key equipment.

The first real expedition will start in 2023 when the Severny Polyus will sail into Arctic waters for a two-year expedition. The ship is designed to be able to drift uninterruptedly with the Arctic currents for two years.

“The ice platform is our country’s contribution to the development of the Arctic,” Minister Kozlov said in a comment early 2022.

When Russia took over the presidency of the Arctic Council in 2021 its Council representatives highlighted the Severny Polyus as one its major contributions and underlined that international researchers would be invited to the maiden tour.

The Severny Polyus platform will replace Russia’s Arctic expeditions based on ice floes organised since the 1930s. The quickly vanishing Arctic sea-ice has made it increasingly hard to organise the expeditions and last real ice station, the “North Pole-40”, was held in the winter of 2012.

Related stories from around the North: 

Canada: Microbe discovery in Arctic Canada could help better understand life on Mars, Eye on the Arctic

Finland: What a Saami-led salmon rewilding project in Arctic Finland can teach us about Indigenous science, Eye on the Arctic

Greenland: Glowing snailfish full of antifreeze proteins found off coast of Greenland, Eye on the Arctic

Iceland: Visitors cautioned about gas pollution at eruption site in Iceland’s Meradalir valley, Eye on the Arctic

Norway: German icebreaker back from research trip to better understand Arctic ice, Eye on the Arctic

RussiaOral histories unlock impact of climate change on nomadic life in Arctic Russia, says study, Eye on the Arctic

Atle Staalesen, The Independent Barents Observer

For more news from the Barents region visit The Independent Barents Observer.

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