The Kapitan Dranitsyn icebreaker sets records in northern latitudes
The FSUE “Rosmorport” Kapitan Dranitsyn icebreaker was the first one among diesel electric icebreakers to independently hit the Arctic highest point – L=88°13′ N and L=31°37′ E in winter.
On February 28, 2020 in the midst of the polar night the icebreaker came to an area where the Polarstern frozen-in research icebreaker was drifting as part of an international polar expedition, the MOSAiC (the Multidisciplinary Drifting Observatory for the Study of the Arctic Climate). The Kapitan Dranitsyn brought shift polar specialists and crewmembers on board for the research vessel, as well as 43 tons of necessary equipment, supplies and provision.
The icebreaker left the Norwegian seaport of Tromso on February 3, 2020. The icebreaker moved through the Barents Sea and the Arctic Ocean amid adverse weather conditions. The air temperature dropped till minus 33 degrees Celsius. Multi-year ice, ridging, snow cover and the high ice pressure created obstacles for the movement of the icebreaker. Occasionally the crewmembers were forced to wait for the improvement in wind and ice conditions, rebuild the safe route and overpass difficult ice sections. On days like these the Kapitan Dranitsyn was covering less than 20 miles – the distance that the icebreaker usually passes for two hours. Totally, the icebreaker passed 2.248 nautical miles.
If in the beginning of the route the Kapitan Dranitsyn used 50 % of its power then when it was approaching toward the science camp the icebreaker’s engines operated in full power – 18.240 kW by swinging three propeller screws.
The route of the FSUE “Rosmorport” icebreaker was corrected due to the operational ice situation received from the satellite and processed by the Russian Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute (FSBI “AARI”). The institute’s representative was aboard the icebreaker.
This is not the first voyage of the Russian vessel: at the end of last year it successfully overpassed 2.166 nautical miles and provided support for the autumn stage of the MOSAiC expedition. The coordinates of the drift were L=86 degrees N.
Upon completion of loading-unloading operations on March 4, 2020 the Kapitan Dranitsyn icebreaker will leave the driftway for the seaport of Tromso. In addition to the members of the expedition and some crewmembers of the Polarstern vessel the icebreaker will bring the results of researches, specimens of the fauna and flora of artic seas and polar ice in special containers to the continent. Information received during the MOSAiC expedition will help analyze regional and global consequences of the climate change in the Arctic region.
Crewmembers’ work experience amid severe navigating and weather conditions will be used in the future. The Russian Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment is planning to use the vessel in another research expedition “The North Pole 2020” due to start in the second half of the year. The icebreaker will be frozen in multi-year ice near the North Pole to conduct researches of the Arctic region.