2 May 2024 18:51

Russia's North Pole 41 drifting polar station completes expedition

ST. PETERSBURG. May 2 (Interfax) - The North Pole 41 drifting station has completed its work in the high latitudes of the Arctic Ocean, the Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute (AARI) said on Thursday.

"The North Pole ice-resistant platform left an icebound area on its own, which it has been drifting in for over eight months, near the Spitsbergen archipelago and has travelled over 30 nautical miles to reach open waters. The vessel is now drifting in waiting for favorable weather and ice conditions before starting to move towards Murmansk port, from where the polar explorers will be airlifted to St. Petersburg," it said.

AARI Director Alexander Makarov has described the North Pole 41 expedition as a success of Russian researchers, designers, and shipbuilders.

"We will be provided with relevant information on the state of the Arctic's environment for decades, and will bolster our academic posture in high latitudes. The concluding expedition has yielded a vast amount of scientific information which our researchers are already analyzing. The vessel will be ready for another mission in August. The North Pole 42 drifting station will begin its work as early as this coming fall," the AARI quoted Makarov as saying.

Over 19 months since the start of its mission, the North Pole 41 station, which was launched on the basis of the North Pole ice-resistant platform, has travelled around 3,000 nautical miles. It has been drifting from a location near the New Siberian Islands for over 900 nautical miles. The explorers have completed a program covering 50 interdisciplinary research areas, including the studying of the Arctic region's natural components ranging from the Arctic Ocean's floor to the stratosphere.

The explorers will make the first presentation on the station's mission at the POLAR 16 international scientific and practical conference scheduled for May 16, 2024, it said.

As reported, the North Pole 41 drifting station was launched in October 2022. The platform was designed for year-round comprehensive research in high latitudes of the Arctic Ocean. It has a length of 67.8 meters, a width of 22.5 meters, a displacement of about 7,500 tonnes, a 3.6 MW power unit, and a speed of at least ten knots. Its service life is 30-35 years, taking into account average overhaul measures.

The North Pole 41 expedition continues the national program of drifting polar stations that began in 1937 under the supervision of polar explorer Ivan Papanin.