Russian authorities this week decided to end all operations at the SP-35 drifting research station. An icebreaker is now underway to save the researchers, who are under growing threat as the North Pole ice is melting.
The rescue operation was started this week when the icebreaker Mikhail Somov sailed off from Arkhangelsk towards the Spitsbergen archipelago. The 20 researchers are now located 30-40 km from the islands.
The SP-35 mission was started in September last year. Then, the ice flow on which the station is located was 5 km long and 3 km wide. Now the ice flow is only 600 meter long and 300 meter wide, head of the Russian Association of Polar Explorer, Mr. Vladimir Strugatskii says. Ц This is dangerous, he adds.
Despite the current problems, Russia already this year intends to establish a new station in the Arctic. The SP-36 will be opened in September, Mr. Strugatskii confirms.