Nuclear icebreaker to evacuate trapped Russian polar explorers

The nuclear icebreaker Yamal has departed from the port of Murmansk to evacuate the personnel and equipment of the SP-40 weather station from a split ice floe in the Arctic Ocean.

The nuclear icebreaker Yamal has departed from the port of Murmansk to evacuate the personnel and equipment of the SP-40 weather station from a split ice floe in the Arctic Ocean, the state company Atomflot which maintains a fleet of nuclear icebreakers, has reported.

"The icebreaker will evacuate personnel and equipment from the SP-40 drifting station," it said.

The journey is likely to last 12-14 days, depending on the ice situation. The entire expedition could last more than 30 days.

Natural Resources Minister Sergei Donskoi earlier told the press that personnel will be evacuated from the weather station in mid June. The station will be closed down several months earlier than planned. There is nothing threatening the polar explorers now, he said.

The SP-40 station was opened on an ice floe with an area of 10 square kilometers. Warming caused the ice floe to crack. The ice flow where the station is located now has an area of about 150 square meters, all of which requires the personnel's urgent evacuation.

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