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Veteran Russian voyager eyes landmark ecological monitoring mission

Fyodor Konyukhov plans to sign a memorandum with the Russian Academy of Sciences on cooperation in exploring the World Ocean, his son and director general of the expedition mission Oskar Konyukhov said
Traveller Fyodor Konyukhov Sergei Malgavko/TASS
Traveller Fyodor Konyukhov
© Sergei Malgavko/TASS

MOSCOW, March 18. /TASS/. Veteran Russian adventurer Fyodor Konyukhov plans to sign a memorandum with the Russian Academy of Sciences on cooperation in exploring the World Ocean, his son and director general of the expedition mission Oskar Konyukhov said.

The first joint project will be scientific and technical assistance provided by the RAS Institute of Oceanology to Konyukhov, who seeks to cross the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans aboard a solar-powered catamaran called NOVA. Konyukhov earlier announced plans to attempt the first solo crossing in 2021-2022.

"The signing ceremony for the memorandum on cooperation will take place on March 23, 2020 <...> at the Shirshov Institute of Oceanology of the RAS," Oskar Konyukhov said, stressing that the document is aimed at fostering trilateral cooperation between the voyager, his expedition mission and the Institute with the goal of "fulfilling joint scientific, educational and expedition projects."

This cooperation is aimed at exploring the World Ocean, its bottom, underwater flora and fauna and also carrying out ecological monitoring of the seas and oceans. One of the first projects as part of this cooperation will be scientific and technical assistance by the institute during Konyukhov’s crossing of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans aboard the solar-powered catamaran. The NOVA catamaran will be fitted with a special device designed to collect debris from the ocean’s surface (a special net strung between the floats).

Fyodor Konyukhov, 68, is a Russian survivalist, voyager, aerial and marine explorer who has so far completed five solo circumnavigations. He crossed the Atlantic Ocean 17 times and became the first Russian to complete the Explorers Grand Slam: he climbed the highest mountains on all seven continents and visited the North Pole and the South Pole. Between 1992 and 1997, Konyukhov conquered Mount Elbrus, Mount Everest, Aconcagua, Mt. Kilimanjaro, Vinson Massif as well as Mount Kosciuszko and Denali (also known as Mount McKinley, its former official name).