Antarctic Program Director of US National Science Foundation Karl Erb sent to captain and crew of FESCO icebreaker «Krasin» a telegram, in which he thanked for assistance, rendered to the Polar Station «McMurdo» — the main science base of American Antarctic Program. As noted in the telegram, «the courage and professionalism of the crew of Russian icebreaker „Krasin“ helped the USA to continue long-term research program in Antarctic.»
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. Now the Polar station «McMurdo» is supplied with all necessary things for the work during the year. The unique professional level of operation fulfillment in Antarctic deserved the highest appreciation of US science society.
In specialists’ opinion, without assistance of high-powered Russian icebreaker the pilotage 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.
At that time, icebreaker «Krasin», having finished backward pilotage from station to the free of ice and safe for navigation area, heads for home shore. Icebreaker’s calling to the port Vladivostok is expected in the first decade of March.
The ice-breaker is conducting these operations on orders from the Russian Government, which received a request from US authorities. As noted the coordinator of operation on rendering assistance to «McMurdo», the president of Association of polar explorers, the Hero of Soviet Union Artur Chilingarov, «it is the first time for the whole period of polar stations’ existence, the USA recognizing themselves as the leader of Antarctic exploration, asked for assistance from Russia.»
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.
Meanwhile their crews have spent more time in ice-bound regions of the world than anybody else. Icebreaker crews not once proved their high professionalism. It is enough to recall the legendary passage of icebreaker «Vladivostok», which under the command of captain Gennadiy Antokhin in 1985 rescued in the Ross Sea clamped with ice the research ship «Mikhail Somov».
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». About these dramatic accidents in 1969 film director Mikhail Kalatozov made a film «Red Tent». FESCO history contents numerous pages, connected with the participation of company’s icebreakers in rescue operations. For the last 50 years about 20 of such operations took place, which were conducted in the heaviest conditions of high risk and which demanded definite actions. For example, in 1959 FESCO icebreakers «Admiral Makarov» and «Mikoyan» in conditions of the storm in the North part if Pacific Ocean rescued combination vessel «Dvina», on the board of which 600 people were. In 1978 icebreakers «Leningrad» and «Moskva’ piloted from the compression zone 60 vessels of fishing fleet in the eastern part of the Sea of Okhotsk. The Krasin ice-breaker slipped out of Vladivostok December 21, shaping course for the Antarctic. The ship is to cast anchor at her home port in March 2005.