11 February 2013, 21:59

Russian icebreaker heads off to Antarctic

Russian icebreaker heads off to Antarctic

The sea trials of the Russian vessel Academik Tryoshnikov, which is purposed for scientific expeditions, have started in the Antarctic. They will last from February 11 till 26.

The vessel will be tested, first of all, from the point of view of its qualities as an icebreaker. Besides, a team of scientists on board the ship will hold unique meteorological research and examine the Antarctic seas.

“Academik Tryoshnikov” was built at Russia’s oldest shipbuilding pant in St. Petersburg, called “Admiraleyskie Verfi”, or “Admiralty Shipyard”, the history of which counts 3 centuries. The construction of the ship allows people on it to feel quite comfortable when the temperature outside is -40° Celsius. However, the vessel can sail in tropical seas as well.

There are 111 people on board “Tryoshnikov” – the crew, a shift team of scientists, who are going to the Russian polar station “Bellingshausen” in the Antarctic, and shipwrights. There is special equipment on the ship for measuring the pressure of the ice on the ship’s hull.

The head of the press service of the Russian State Weather Bureau Alexander Frolov says:

“The main aim of these sea trials is to check the vessel’s capacities as an icebreaker. It is expected that the ship will be able to break 1.10-meter-thick ice at the speed of 2 knots. It is also planned to test the ship’s coating’s reliability, because this information is very important for shipbuilders.”

At present, another Russian ship is in Antarctic. This ship, called “Akademik Fyodorov”, is one of the oldest Russian icebreakers that is still used.

The head of the Antarctic expedition Valery Lukin says:

“The main task of ships like “Akademic Fyodorov” or “Akademik Tryoshnikov” is to deliver people and equipment to polar stations. However, the ship has laboratories with various kinds of equipment, and on the ship’s way to Antarctic, scientists on board do a lot of research. In total, such vessels are a mixture of an icebreaker, a passenger ship and a scientific institution. Besides, such a ship – this is a must – has several helicopters on its deck.”

“The simultaneous presence of two research ships in Antarctic will allow them to learn much more about this continent,” Alexander Frolov says.

“As a rule, one ship is not enough to thoroughly examine the entire water territory around the Antarctic within one season,” Mr. Frolov says. “Thus, until now, Russian scientists limited their research with Antarctic seas that are parts of the Atlantic and the Indian Oceans. However, recently, the Russian government ordered to also explore the sector of the Pacific Ocean.”

“There are 2 Russian polar stations near the Antarctic’s Pacific coast – “Russkaya” and “Leningradskaya”, but work on them was interrupted several years ago. Now, a decision has been made to resume work on these stations again. Two years ago, scientific equipment was brought there.”

If these stations resume work, Russia will have 7 working polar stations in the Antarctic. This will open great prospects for Russia, because polar explorers from a number of countries say that they are ready to jointly explore the icy continent with Russian scientists.

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