The annual U. S. Antarctic Program (USAP) Achievement Awards are often given to individuals or groups who respond in an extraordinary way to unforeseen challenges and unexpected situations. This award, to Captain Victor Kovalchuk, the crew of the KRASIN, and the Far-Eastern Shipping Company (FESCO), is certainly no exception to that.
Erick Chiang, U. S. Antarctic Program section head, said «At the planning conference, held two weeks ago, I am happy to tell you that Captain Victor Kovalchuk, the crew of the KRASIN and the men and women of FESCO were awarded such a certificate in absentia. We, at NSF, were extremely pleased with the professionalism and competence of Capt. Kovalchuk and his crew and were also very impressed with the professional contractual and financial business interactions with Mr. Chabrov and the rest of the FESCO organization. Further we recognize that this was all done with virtually no time to plan or prepare for the voyage.»
FESCO was thanked for the excellent work and the support, heartfelt thanks were given to Captain Kovalchuk and his crew, to Mr. Chabrov and his department, and to all the others in FESCO who helped to support the cruise.
The ice-breaker is conducting these operations on orders from the Russian Government, which received a request from US authorities. FESCO icebreaker has succeeded in solving all set points and providing for the short period of navigation in the Antarctic Sea of Ross the delivery to the station necessary fuel, food, medicaments and scientific equipment.
In experts’ opinion, without assistance of high-powered Russian icebreaker, the cruise of American ships to the shore of Antarctic would be impossible. In case of failure of operation the personnel of Antarctic station — about one thousand polar explorers — would be evacuated, and the long-term program of permanent scientific observations and researches in Antarctic would be frustrated.
According to Yevgeny Ambrosov, general director of the Far Eastern shipping company, the Government of the United States did not ask Russia for help by sheer coincidence. Russia boasts the world’s largest ice-breaker fleet. FESCO crews have spent more time in ice-bound regions of the world than anybody else. Icebreaker crews not once proved their high professionalism.
Icebreaker «Krasin» is built in 1976 and named after legendary soviet icebreaker, which in 1928 took part in international operation on rescue of the Italian expedition of Humberto Nobile to the North Pole, and prevented one of the largest accident at sea, having rescued the liner «Monte Servantes».