Looking for a century-year-old loss
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Looking for a century-year-old loss

August 26, 2020

The legendary Vaigach, heading for Dixon, sank in 1918. Scientists are looking for the icebreaker in the Yenisey gulf.

Scientists from the joint expedition of the Russian Geographical Society and the Northern Fleet to the Arctic archipelagos have completed their studies of the underwater object, which was found in the Yenisey gulf.

On August 19, the expedition members using sonar in the area of ​​cape Efremov at a depth of 27 meters discovered a sunken object 56 by 9 meters in size. The object was examined using an unmanned underwater vehicle Marlin-350.

The scientists assumed that they found the legendary icebreaker Vaigach, which had sunk in the Yenisey bay in 1918. But a detailed examination did not confirm the resemblance to the icebreaker. The materials will be carefully studied by historians and other specialists.

The icebreaking steamer Vaigach was built for hydrographic work in the Arctic seas by the workers of the Nevsky Ship-mechanical plant in 1909. The vessel had a hull length of 54 meters, a width of 11 meters, and a displacement of 1200 tons. Vaigach together with the ship Taimyr served as the base of the expedition in the Arctic Ocean, which took place in 1910–1915 under the leadership of Boris Vilkitsky. During the expedition, the researchers, wintered in the Boris Vilkitsky strait for the first time, mastered the Northern Sea Route from Vladivostok to Arhangelsk, and discovered the Land of Emperor Nicholas II (now Severnaya Zemlya) archipelago”, the Russian Geographical Society said.

In 1918, the icebreakers Vaigach and Taimyr were supposed to deliver cargo to Dikson island and equipment for a radio station under construction in Dudinka. The expedition was led by 1st rank captain Boris Vilkitsky. In September 1918, after entering Dikson, the Vaigach crashed in the Yenisey bay, having stumbled upon a rock not marked on the map.

In 1984, with the assistance of the Geographical Society of the USSR, scuba divers of the Leningrad underwater club began searching for the sunken icebreaking steamer Vaigach. The scuba divers stumbled upon a heap of metal and pulled out some pieces. But whether it was Vaigach or not is unknown.

The expeditionary detachment, headed by the Kola flotilla of the Northern Fleet diverse forces officer, 3rd rank captain Dmitry Myasnikov, continues operating according to the plan of the integrated expedition. The Ilya Muromets icebreaker headed further to the Skerries of Minin – an archipelago of small islands in the Kara sea near the Taimyr peninsula. Earlier, the traces of Vladimir Rusanov’s expedition were found there. The scientists will attempt to find the remains of Rusanov’s motor-sailing vessel Hercules.

Text: Angelica Stepanova, Photo: rgo.ru

August 26, 2020

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