North Pole ice-resistant platform passes tests
The control stage of the North Pole ice-resistant self-propelled platform completed14 July 2022
The North Pole ice-resistant platform, which will improve the quality of weather forecasts and ice conditions on the North Sea Route, has successfully passed the control tests. It is scheduled to make its maiden voyage on 1 September, the Rossiyskaya Gazeta newspaper reports.
The platform will resume the programme of domestic drifting polar stations, begun by Soviet scientists 85 years ago and suspended for safety reasons in 2013 because of decreasing ice strength.
The North Pole will use new technology: it will go on its own to the place where the wintering begins, and then it will be frozen into the ice. Scientists will put a mobile scientific camp around the vessel, which, in case of danger of destruction of the ice floe, can be quickly folded up and continue research from the vessel. The platform has enough autonomy to drift for up to two years.
'Control tests have shown that the platform operates perfectly. All necessary certificates and documents are accepted. All navigational and shipboard equipment is checked. The helicopter complex has been tested,' said Alexander Makarov, Director of the Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute (AARI).
The platform crew is almost fully formed, all that's left is to find cooks. A core team of scientists has already been assembled to do the research. It included 27 people. Thanks to the platform, scientists will receive data on climatic processes in the Arctic, ice drift, degradation of the ice cover and the increasing influence of warm Atlantic waters in the Arctic right after the first year of work. 'It is planned to transfer the vessel to Roshydromet and then to our institute. Acceptance of the platform and its complete preparation for the voyage are scheduled for August,' Alexander Makarov added.
Alexander Kozlov, Head of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, noted that other countries are unlikely to build something like this in the foreseeable future. 'The strength of the hull is such that the vessel will be able to freeze into the ice and drift for two years. This will make it possible to get to those corners of the Arctic that are extremely difficult to get to, and where no one has ever been. Accordingly, we will begin to obtain unique data on the state of the ice, the atmosphere and the nature of the high-latitude Arctic. Data that is currently unavailable. By the way, we invite scientists from other countries to participate as well. Because science should have no borders, especially when it comes to climate research,' the minister said.
The platform is expected to make its maiden voyage from St. Petersburg to Murmansk on 1 September, and from there, it will depart on its first expedition to the Central Arctic.