Russian scientists filmed legendary steamer
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Russian scientists filmed legendary steamer

September 28, 2020

For the first time, Russian scientists filmed the legendary steamer Chelyuskin. The ship was crushed and sank in the Chukchi sea 86 years ago.

Researchers from the Russian Geographical Society and the Northern Fleet examined and for the first time filmed the Chelyuskin steamer that had sank in 1934. The vessel was crushed by ice in the Chukchi sea. This was reported by the press service of the Russian Geographical Society.

The detachment of the complex expedition made high-quality video filming of the object using an unmanned underwater vehicle.

“The expedition members working on the Ilya Muromets icebreaker, using a multi-beam echo sounder, carried out a three-dimensional acoustic survey of the Chelyuskin steamer. We managed to make video filming of the object using the Marlin-350 unmanned underwater vehicle. This is the first high-quality filming of the steamer – no one has been able to make clear shots so far, as in the area where the ship sank (not far from the Bering strait), there is a very powerful current and muddy water”, the Russian Geographical Society said.

On February 13, 1934, the Chelyuskin was crushed by ice and sank in the Chukchi sea

The photo and video clearly show the bow and middle parts of the vessel, as well as rectangular windows. The name of the steamer on the bow and stern has not survived. But, having studied the photo and video footage, experts came to the conclusion that the sunken object is the steamer Chelyuskin.

The Soviet steamship Chelyuskin was built in Denmark in 1933. The ship was intended for cargo and passenger traffic between the mouth of the Lena river and Vladivostok and was reinforced for navigation in ice. It got its name in honor of the Russian navigator, explorer of the North Semyon Chelyuskin.

“On August 2, 1933, with 112 passengers on board, the steamer left Murmansk for Vladivostok in order to pass the Northern Sea Route in one summer navigation. In the Chukchi sea on September 23, the steamer was completely blocked by ice. Then for several months he drifted with the crew and entered the Bering strait with ice. But the ship was pulled back, and on February 13, 1934, the Chelyuskin was crushed by ice and sank in the Chukchi sea. Over the next two months, with the help of aviation, all the passengers were evacuated from the ice floe”, the Russian Geographical Society said.

After studying the sunken ship, the icebreaker of the Northern Fleet Ilya Muromets continued to follow the route of the expedition. Now the scientists are heading to Wrangel island. It is planned to explore the places associated with the Hydrographic Expedition of the Arctic Ocean of 1910-1915 in the eastern regions of the Chukchi sea.

Recall that earlier the expeditionary detachment of the Northern Fleet and the Russian Geographical Society on the Ilya Muromets icebreaker discovered the traces of the Vladimir Rusanov’s expedition in 1910 on the Taimyr peninsula, clarified the coordinates of artillery batteries on the Kara sea coast, during underwater research determined the location of the remains of several ships that died in the Kara sea in the XX century. Presumably one of them could be the icebreaking steamer Vaigach.

A number of important historical artefacts of the 17th century were discovered by the detachment in the Sims bay of the Laptev sea. The scientists found a grocery warehouse on the Novaya Zemlya archipelago by one of the first research Arctic expeditions of 1872-1874 led by Karl Weiprecht and Julius Payer.

In September 2020, more than 80 artefacts found by the second detachment of the expedition on Novaya Zemlya were transferred to the Russian State Museum of the Arctic and Antarctic in St. Petersburg.

Scientists also confirmed the discovery by Russian schoolchildren of a new island in the Arctic.

Expedition 2020 is the third joint expedition of the Russian Geographical Society and the Northern Fleet to the Arctic archipelagos. Launched on August 5, it is dedicated to several memorable dates at once: the 75th anniversary of the Victory in the Great Patriotic War, the 175th anniversary of the Russian Geographical Society, the 110th anniversary of the Hydrographic Expedition of the Arctic Ocean, the 120th anniversary of the Russian Polar Expedition and the 145th anniversary of the Vladimir Rusanov’s birth.

Text: Angelica Stepanova, Photo: rgo.ru

September 28, 2020

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