August 15, /TASS/. The Northern Fleet’s Altai vessel with scientists and military on board left Severomorsk heading for the Franz Josef Land Archipelago for geographical and archaeological studies, the Fleet’s press service said on Thursday.
“The vessel headed out to the Barents Sea and sails in the northern direction towards Franz Josef Land,” the press service stated. “On board the vessel are specialists of the Northern Fleet’s hydrographic service and search and rescue department as well as a security unit, which will guard the researchers from wild animals, when the scientists go ashore.”
The expedition also includes representatives of the Russian Geographical Society and the Russian Arctic National Park.
For about six weeks, the specialists will conduct geographical and archaeological studies on the archipelago’s islands. The ship will go along the routes of Julius von Payer’s expedition of 1874, Frederick Jackson’s expedition of 1897, and of the rescue expedition of navigator Valerian Albanov.
“During the expedition, the hydrographers will examine the coastline in the areas, where the ice has thawed exposing the coast, which has not been studied,” the press service said. “The specialists will examine the remaining ‘blank spots’ on the maps.”
Franz Josef Land is Russia’s northernmost territory. It is a part of the Arkhangelsk Region. The archipelago comprises 192 islands, the biggest of which is the Zemlya Georga, or the Prince George Land. The Alexandra Land is home of the Northern Fleet’s Arctic Shamrock base.