Russian icebreaker to carry tourists to Franz Josef Land

© RIA Novosti . Alexander Liskin / Go to the photo bankThe ship will leave the northern Russian port of Murmansk on Tuesday for a 10-day cruise
The ship will leave the northern Russian port of Murmansk on Tuesday for a 10-day cruise - Sputnik International
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Russia's icebreaker Kapitan Dranitsyn will carry more than a hundred tourists to the Franz Josef Land, an archipelago in the far north of Russia.

Russia's icebreaker Kapitan Dranitsyn will carry more than a hundred tourists to the Franz Josef Land, an archipelago in the far north of Russia, a Rosmorport company official has said.

The ship will leave the northern Russian port of Murmansk on Tuesday for a 10-day cruise, Vladimir Ivanov said.

"This is not an ordinary voyage. The Kapitan Dranitsyn usually does not carry tourists on board," he said.

The Kapitan Dranitsyn was built in Finland for the former Soviet Union. She has been used as a research vessel by Russia's Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute since 1995.

The ship took part in an international Arctic expedition in 2007, during which Russian, Norwegian, Canadian and German scientists studied the seafloor off the Svalbard archipelago, in the Kara, Barents and Laptev seas.

The Franz Josef Land, located to the east of Svalbard, consists of 191 ice-covered islands with a total area of more than 16,000 square km (over 6,200 square miles). The only inhabitants of the islands, which lies only 900 to 1,110 km (560 to 690 statute miles) from the North Pole, are Russian settlers.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin visited the Franz Josef Land in late April. He emphasized that the archipelago alone had almost 60,000 tons of fuels and lubricants, some of which spill and pollute the environment, and called for a general clean-up of the Arctic.

Yuri Trutnev, the Russian minister of natural resources and ecology, said in June that the clean-up program, which is to start in 2011, would require 1.2 billion rubles ($40 million).

MURMANSK, July 27 (RIA Novosti)

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