The grand launching ceremony of the Akademik Treshnikov research vessel has taken place in Murmansk. More than 50 scientists will be on board the ship as it drifts in the Barents Sea. They will carry out comprehensive research into the nature of the Far North.

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Yury Trutnev, Deputy Prime Minister of Russia and Presidential Envoy to the Far Eastern Federal District, started the voyage via videoconferencing. It was the first of the four stages of the large-scale ‘Trans Arctic 2019’ expedition. Mr Trutnev said his parting words from Vladivostok to the captain's bridge on the Akademik Treshnikov.

A government decision has made it possible for Russia to resume comprehensive research into the Arctic Ocean, which was interrupted in the 1990s. During the four stages of the expedition, the waters of all of Russia’s northern seas will be studied: from the Barents Sea and the Kara Sea to the Bering Sea.

Maksim Iakovenko, Head of the Federal Service for Hydrometeorology and Environmental Monitoring of Russia (Roshydromet) 

He added that the research programme included hydrometeorological, environmental, geophysical and many other activities.

Aleksander Makarov is the Director of the Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute (AARI) and a graduate of St Petersburg University. He came to wish the participants of the voyage from St Petersburg a successful expedition. ‘Today, it has become unsafe to carry out research in the format of permanent drifting stations such as the “North Pole” due to the deterioration of the ice situation in the Arctic. During the last expeditions in 2014, there were a lot of incidents due to the ice cracking, and it was necessary to move the camp all the time. This problem can be solved with the help of a special ice-resistant platform, which will be put into operation in the next three years. The expedition, which starts today, gives us the opportunity to work out to the last detail all the operational measures for preparing the camp and conducting further research,’ noted Mr Makarov.

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The AARI director also noted that such landmark expeditions are a magnet for young scientists. About one third of all the participants of the expedition are researchers under 35 years old. Aleksandra Urazgildeeva, an employee of the Public Relations Department at St Petersburg University, became one of these novice polar explorers. During the voyage, she will study the radiative properties of pressure ridges. This is sea ice which piles up on the surface.

Ivan Frolov is the head of the expedition and a corresponding member of the Russian Academy of Sciences. He spoke in detail about the drift route of the Akademik Treshnikov. ‘Leaving Murmansk, we will go to the Franz Josef Land archipelago, where the vessel will be attached to the ice floe and be set to drift to the border with Norway. Thus, we will repeat in some way the route of the legendary schooner "Fram", which also drifted in these places under the leadership of the Norwegian polar explorer Fridtjof Nansen,’ shared Mr Frolov.

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