Revival of the Ukrainian scientific fleet: funds allocated for an icebreaker for Antarctic expeditions and research of the World Ocean

Revival of the Ukrainian scientific fleet: funds allocated for an icebreaker for Antarctic expeditions and research of the World Ocean

The government has allocated funds for the purchase of research vessel – an icebreaker for Ukrainian Antarctic Expeditions. The relevant order on the redistribution of some state budget expenditures provided for by the Ministry of Education and Science for 2021 was approved today, July 7, 2021, during the meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers.

“This decision is extremely important, because the development of polar and oceanographic research is one of the priorities of humanity in the 21st century. Ukraine is one of 30 countries of the world that have year-round stations in Antarctica. And this is not only a great prestige for our country, but also a great opportunity for Ukrainian scientists to work at the global level and get involved in solving global problems. The study and development of the resources of the World Ocean is one of the main trends in the development of science and technology in today’s globalized world, and at the time Ukraine had considerable achievements and developments in the field of marine research. Unfortunately, over the past two decades our capabilities have been limited by the lack of research vessels in Ukraine suitable for work in the ocean, in particular the ice class vessels, “- said the Minister of Education and Science Serhiy Shkarlet.

Own oceanographic icebreaker will allow Ukrainian scientists to return to the exploration of the World Ocean after a long break, to create research and logistics consortia with other countries, and in the future – to work not only in Antarctica, but also in the Arctic, and, if necessary, in other regions of the Ocean.

Own vessel will also help to solve logistical problems at Akademik Vernadsky station, which can only be reached by sea and only during a short period of the Antarctic summer, when the ocean around is not frozen. To deliver annual and seasonal expeditions and cargo, Ukraine is still forced to charter foreign vessels annually.

“Last year, when the COVID-19 pandemic had just begun, members of the 25th Ukrainian Antarctic Expedition had an extremely difficult time reaching the station. The rotation was in jeopardy, and the journey lasted more than a month. Therefore, when on February 6 this year the members of the 25th UAE for the first time in history talked to the President of Ukraine directly from the station, to his question, what is needed most of all the expedition members answered without hesitation: own icebreaker. Volodymyr Zelensky noted that the state will do everything necessary for this, and assigned the task to the Office of the President and the Government to work out a solution together. Today we have this solution. It gives the “green light” for the vessel pur15chase. We are very grateful to the President and the Government and look forward to further support from MPs – members of the Verkhovna Rada Budget Committee, ” stressed Evgen Dykyi, Director of the National Antarctic Scientific Center.

The decision of the Government is to be approved by the Verkhovna Rada Committee on Budget, after which the next step is the actual purchase of the vessel.

We very much hope that this year Ukrainian polar explorers will go to the ice continent on their own marine vessel under the flag of Ukraine, and simultaneously with the research at Vernadsky, our scientists will start working in the open ocean.