For the first time in 20 years: revival of the Ukrainian scientific fleet

Funds allocated for an icebreaker for Antarctic expeditions and research of the World Ocean.

According to the experienced Odessa polar explorer Alexander Zulas, the icebreaker will simplify the logistics of Antarctic research. Own oceanographic icebreaker will allow Ukrainian scientists to return to the exploration of the World Ocean after a long break, to create research and logistics consortia with other countries, and in the future – to work not only in Antarctica, but also in the Arctic, and, if necessary, in other regions of the Ocean.

Own vessel will also help to solve logistical problems at Vernadsky Research Base, which can only be reached by sea and only during a short period of the Antarctic summer, when the ocean around is not frozen. To deliver annual and seasonal expeditions and cargo, Ukraine is still forced to charter foreign vessels annually.

This decision is extremely important, because the development of polar and oceanographic research is one of the priorities of humanity in the 21st century. Ukraine is one of 30 countries of the world that have year-round stations in Antarctica. And this is not only a great prestige for our country, but also a great opportunity for Ukrainian scientists to work at the global level and get involved in solving global problems. The study and development of the resources of the World Ocean is one of the main trends in the development of science and technology in today’s globalized world, and at the time Ukraine had considerable achievements and developments in the field of marine research. 

Serhiy Shkarlet, Minister of Education and Science of Ukraine

Earlier, on the website of the National Antarctic Scientific Center, there was a message that on July 14, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine Committee on Budgetary Issues made a decision that would allow starting the procedure for purchasing an icebreaker for Ukrainian Antarctic expeditions and research of the World Ocean.

The funds will be used primarily for the acquisition of the legendary British research RRS James Clark Ross icebreaker.

This photo shows the RRS James Clark Ross in Bellingshausen Sea
Photo credit: British Antarctic Survey

We very much hope that this year Ukrainian polar explorers will go to the ice continent on their own marine vessel under the flag of Ukraine, and simultaneously with the research at Vernadsky, our scientists will start working in the open ocean.

We are very grateful to the Cabinet of Ministers and deputies of the Verkhovna Rada for their support. This decision is not only about buying a ship – it is about an important investment in Ukrainian science, the revival of its entire industry and the opening of an “ocean” of opportunities for our researchers in the oceans, Arctic and Antarctic. We hope to announce the date of signing the agreement on the purchase of the James Clark Ross icebreaker from the British Antarctic Service in the near future.

Yevhen Dyky, Director of the National Antarctic Research Center

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