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MURMANSK, September 3. /TASS/. Russia’s Northern Fleet forces will provide support to the Qingdao-China yacht in its voyage aiming to set several records in the Arctic, the Northern Fleet press service told TASS on Thursday. The trimaran yacht started from Russia’s north-western port of Murmansk on Thursday along the North-East Passage. The Northern Fleet’s defence control centre will provide to the yacht’s crew navigational, hydrometeorological and hydrological information.
"The Northern Fleet is also ready to conduct search and rescue operations, if necessary," the press service said.
The yacht’s voyage route will run through the ice-free seas of the Arctic Ocean - from Murmansk to Providence Bay in the Gulf of Anadyr in the Bering Sea, off the southeast coast of the Chukotka Peninsula. The trimaran’s crew will sail mostly in the Northern Fleet’s responsibility zone. Later, Russia’s Pacific Fleet will take over.
China’s Qingdao yacht with an international crew on board started from Murmansk on Thursday, planning to reach the Providence Bay in just 10 days. The previous record - 14 days - was set by the Scorpius yacht in 2012. The high-latitude Qingdao-China voyage will be the first Russian-Chinese Arctic expedition. The travellers will for the first time sail in the area of 82 degrees North, whereas the usual route for yachts passes along the coast of the Russian North. Also the yacht will for the first time navigate through the entire Northern Sea Route solely under sail, without starting the engine.
The expedition is sponsored by the Russian Geographical Society, the Association of Russian Polar Explorers, the Russian Embassy to China, a number of Chinese companies and organisations.