Difficulties with the passage of ships along the North Sea Route caused by ice buildup
An emergency response centre has been set up to provide urgent assistance to vessels caught in difficult ice conditions23 November 2021
The passage of ships along the North Sea Route (NSR) has been obstructed by a buildup of ice and snow, says Roman Yershov, Head of the Northern Department of Russia's Federal Service for Hydrometeorology and Environmental Monitoring (Rosgidromet), in an interview with TASS.
Earlier, it has been reported that around 20 vessels were adrift awaiting pilotage in the Kara Sea and further east due to challenging ice conditions in the eastern part of the North Sea Route. An emergency response centre has been set up to provide urgent assistance to the vessels caught in difficult ice conditions.
'Right now, the main challenge is not the ice cover itself, but rather the general condition of the ice. There were strong winds that caused multiple layers of ice to stack on top of each other. Ice being stacked in several layers is unfavourable. Furthermore, there was also snow precipitation, and just-below-zero temperatures created conditions for the slush to build up. The characteristics of this ice make it quite difficult to navigate. This slurry ice is challenging for ships to pass through,' Yershov said.
The group of vessels is drifting in the vicinity of the New Siberian Islands, an archipelago between the Laptev Sea and the East Siberian Sea. The nuclear-powered icebreaker Vaygach, heading a caravan of three motor ships, left the port of Pevek in Chukotka to join them. In the western part of the Vilkitsky Strait in the Kara Sea, Mikhail Somov, a research vessel of the northern Rosgidromet, is waiting for an icebreaker escort.