TASS, November 22. The Vaygach nuclear-powered icebreaker, leading a caravan of ships, left the Pevek port (Chukotka) to join the vessels, drifting near the New Siberian Islands, the nuclear fleet’s authority, Atomflot, said on Monday.
Presently, Atomflot’s three nuclear-powered icebreakers are working in the Northern Sea Route - the Yamal, the Taimyr and the Vaygach. However, due to the conditions in the NSR’s eastern part, the efforts of those three icebreakers are not sufficient - quite many vessels there have been waiting to be led through the ice.
"The Vaygach with a caravan of three ships (the Konstanta, the Turukhan, the Grigory Shelikhov) departed from the Pevek port heading for the New Siberian Island towards the ships, which have been drifting there," the authority’s press service said.
On November 20, the Vaygach nuclear-powered icebreaker led to the destination five ships - Uhl Fusion, Golden Pearl, Golden Suek, Nordic Qinngua, Nordic Nuluujaak. Near Dezhnev Cape (NSR’s easternmost point) the vessels continued sailing without any icebreaker.
According to Atomflot’s Director Leonid Irlitsa, in the current ice situation icebreakers are unable to lead caravans from west to the east. Only tugged escort is possible there. "Thus, the navigating companies must pay special attention to what vessels they are using during the final months of the summer-autumn navigation," he said.
Atomflot’s press service stressed in a release on Friday that due to the favorable ice situations of recent years some ship owners have misinterpreted approaches to the eastbound work on the Northern Sea Route. At the same time, the state regulations read that the navigation near the Pevek marine port continues from July to October, and this period may be extended in favorable ice conditions.
"For the first time in recent seven years, the ice formation in certain areas of the Northern Sea Route began two weeks earlier," Atomflot’s Director General Mustafa Kashka said. "Realistically, from early November, at certain locations it is impossible to sail without icebreakers."
"The company continues to observe its contracted obligations to provide safe sailing along the Northern Sea Route," he added.