MOSCOW, January 9. /TASS/. The Russian research vessel Academician Boris Petrov has sailed off after four-year repairs from China’s port of Tianjin for a scientific expedition in the Indian Ocean, the first one after the collapse of the former Soviet Union, Alexei Sokov, acting director of the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Oceanology, told TASS on Monday.
"The research team includes biologists, hydrologists, geophysicists and meteorologists. It will be the first mission in the Indian Ocean for Russian biologists, hydrologists and geophysicists since the collapse of the former Soviet Union. Meteorologists already carried out research there onboard the Academician Nikolai Strakhov research vessel in 2016," he said.
The program of the current expedition features geophysical works on the Southeast Indian Ridge and hydrophysical research in the Tareev equatorial surface current, which was discovered by Soviet scientists. Biologists will study the condition of the Indian Ocean’s ecosystem. "It is planned to catch living organisms and study phytoplankton," Sokov said.
It will be a unique expedition, according to Sergei Shapovalov, director of the Oceanology Institute’s coordination center. "Russian scientists are returning to the Indian Ocean. It is very important. Now, the second International Indian Ocean Expedition (IIOE-2) is currently being conducted but our country has dropped out of it… It is very important for our scientists, since geophysicists have not been in the Indian Ocean for a long time and want to conduct new research," the press service of the Russian Federal Agency for Scientific Organizations (FANO) quoted him as saying.
The Academician Boris Petrov sailed off Tianjin on January 5, 2017 and is expected to reach its home port of Kaliningrad in late March. The ship is owned by the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Geochemistry and Analytical Chemistry.
Russia’s Federal Agency for Scientific Organizations (FANO) sponsored repairs of the ship. In all, it allocated a sum of 900 million rubles (some 15 million U.S. dollars) to finance research fleet and sea expeditions in 2016. "We have managed to keep within the budget and finished repairs of the ship. The Academician Boris Petrov is the second ship that was repaired and returned to Russia," Sokov said.
FANO’s ships conducted 42 expeditions in 2016. "Now, Russian researchers have a possibility to work in various part of the World Ocean. We are present in practically all Russian Arctic seas. Works are conducted in the Black, Baltic, and White Seas, and in all the seas in the Far East," Shapovalov said.