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The research oceanographic vessel “James Clark Ross” came to Odessa


RRS James Clark Ross under the Ukrainian flag arrived to Odessa. Here the ship will be given a new name.

Header photo: Paulo O’Sullivan, BAS


In August, the Ukrainian flag was hoisted by the director of the National Antarctic Research Center, Yevhen Dikiy, together with British Captain Simon Welles and Ukrainian Captain Oleh Novosylny. The NANC pennant was also raised above the icebreaker.

The National Antarctic Science Center (NANC) State Institution has signed an agreement with the Estonian company Pech OU on the transportation of the icebreaker James Clark Ross from Denmark to Ukraine. The cost of the service is $ 1.33 million (UAH 35.4 million), this was reported in the “Prozorro” system.

In September-October, they ordered the operation of the research oceanographic vessel “James Clark Ross”, preparation for sea access and maintenance on the route from the port of Frederikshavn (Denmark) to the port of Odessa to provide Ukrainian Antarctic expeditions. The crew includes 24 people. There are two captains: Ukrainian captain Oleg Novosilny and British “captain-mentor” Simon Wallace. The customer paid an advance of 70%.

The procurement was carried out without bidding, under a negotiated procedure due to lack of competition for technical reasons. In August, the Center bought the icebreaker from the British government agency UK Research and Innovation for $5.30 million. It transferred the ship to the port of Frederikshavn, and now it must be brought to the port of Odessa. The management of this vessel requires documents on special training and the availability of particular qualifications. Such activity requires a lot of time. There is currently a minimum crew on board, which completed the work under the previous contract on August 17, 2021, and has the right to leave the ship at any time.

RRS James Clark Ross arrives in Antarctica
Photo: BAS

There are currently no specialists in Ukraine who would undergo the relevant special training and replace the crew immediately. Therefore, only specialists who have previously worked in the ship’s crew and have relevant experience and supporting documents have the technical ability to provide services. In particular, the following specialists are needed: captain, senior, second and third assistant, communications engineer, chief, second, third, and fourth mechanics, chief electrician.

The British crewing agency Seamariner, responsible for staffing the ship’s crew before the change of ownership, said that the crew with experience on board the James Clark Ross now works for two tenants. Some of these specialists are working on the new Sir David Attenborough research icebreaker to benefit the British Antarctic Service, and Pech OU has hired others. Thus, today only Pech OU can bring a ship from Denmark to Odessa in due time.

The customer noted that waiting for the training of Ukrainian specialists could lead to the vessel’s detention by the port authorities of the port of Frederikshavn and the disruption of the Ukrainian Antarctic expedition in 2021. After all, the ship needs recertification, additional equipment, and training.