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Construction of self-propelled platform for Arctic studies is delayed, scientist says

Supplies of certain parts of the platform have been impeded by the coronavirus pandemic, according to the director of the Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute

ST. PETERSBURG, May 18. /TASS/. Construction of the North Pole self-propelled ice-resistant floating platform is still underway with certain parts having not been supplied due to the coronavirus pandemic, Director of the Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute (AARI) Alexander Makarov told the Polar Readings 2020 international conference on Monday.

In early March, he said the platform’s first trials were due in 2022. "One of the important projects is construction of the North Pole ice-resistant platform. We can see a certain change in terms and a delay as supplies of equipment have been adjusted because of the pandemic," he said. "But within just a few years the construction will be completed and we shall resume high-latitude drifting studies in the Arctic at an absolutely new level, in safe, comfortable conditions."

In spring 2018, Roshydromet (hydrometeorology service) and the Admiralty Shipyard inked a contract on construction of the North Pole ice-resistant floating platform to revive the North Pole annual drifting expeditions, which were suspended in the early 2000s due to the climate changes.

The platform, which is 83 meters long, will accommodate 33 researchers in addition to 13 crew members. It will be able to float autonomously for up to two years. Scientists will have an opportunity to conduct long-term experiments, they will process data on the spot and transmit results to the mainland. They will study the climate, snow, ice, biodiversity, atmosphere, ecology, and more.

The Polar Readings 2020 international conference in St. Petersburg is held online. It will continue to May 21. The event involves a few dozens experts from Russia, Norway, Italy, and other countries.