New Speed Record Set for Reaching North Pole

50 Let Pobedy
file photo of 50 Let Pobedy

By The Maritime Executive 08-17-2017 08:55:08

Russia's nuclear icebreaker 50 Let Pobedy has set a new speed record for reaching the North Pole, making the journey from Murmansk to the North Pole in 79 hours. 

This is twice as fast as the journey made by the icebreaker Arktika, which on August 17, 1977 became the first surface vessel to reach the North Pole under the command of Captain Yuri Kuchiyev.

50 Let Pobedy reached the North Pole at 2.33 am Moscow time on August 17, 2017, making the journey to commemorate the Arktika's historic voyage which took place in 1977. Taking part in the memorial voyage are about 100 people including some number of members of the 1977 voyage. Participants will hold a ceremony to commemorate Arktika's arrival and plant a Russian flag.

During the expedition, the vessel hosted a conference dedicated to Arctic issues including the future of the Arktika, already decommissioned. Some hope that Arktika, built in 1975, will be kept for museum display rather than scrapped.

A key topic of discussion was year-round navigation along the Northern Sea Route. "The key task of the conference is to try to understand whether it is economically worth to develop year-round navigation along the entire Norther Sea Route," the 2017 voyage leader, Director General of the nuclear fleet authority, Atomflot, Vyacheslav Ruksha told Russian news agency TASS. He is sure Atomflot will be able to ensure year-round navigation along the entire Northern Sea Route in the near future, although currently navigation is only possible in Western Arctic. "Our veterans have mastered the Kara Sea, and it has become obvious to everyone that nuclear-powered icebreakers are capable of ensuring stable, sustainable year-round navigation.”

Over the past 40 years, surface vessels have completed the journey 124 times, with Russian ships accounting for 111 of these voyages.