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City news, 12.08.2004 12:58

Russia to open Arctic drifting station

polar_ship ST. PETERSBURG, August 11 (Itar-Tass) -- The flagship of Russia’s polar flotilla, Akademik Fyodorov, sailed from St. Petersburg on Tuesday midnight, setting course for the Novosibirkiye Islands in the eastern Arctic.

The research ship carries an expedition of researches and specialists, the chief of the new drifting station North Pole-33 (NP-33), Alexei Visnevsky , told Itar-Tass by phone from board.

He had spent 11 months with a polar expedition at the previous NP-32 station.

The current expedition is heading to the Arctic Ocean area that it is to reach by September 10.

The researchers will chose, using satellite photography, an ice platform for the future drifting station.

The ice floe must be one and a half kilometres in diameter and three meters thick.

“If force-majeure does not happen, as it was with NP-32, this strength margin is quite enough for the planned two-year drifting,” Visnevsky said.

He stressed that the name of the future station, the Konstantinov North Pole-33, is a tribute to noted hydrology specialist Yuri Konstantinov, who devoted almost 50 years to the Arctic research.

Working at the Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute of the Russian Hydrometeorology Committee, he was chief of four drifting stations.

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