First solo Arctic sea passage attempt
A British yachtsman attempting the first solo Arctic sea passage across
northern Russia was examining his options after heavier than expected ice
blocked his route.
Adrian Flanagan is discussing with Russian authorities the possibility of
using a nuclear-powered icebreaker to lift his boat out of the water and
carry it round the most icebound stretch of Russia’s Northern Sea Route.
“If the worst comes to the worst and there isn’t a break in the weather, we’ve got
a plan,” Louise Flanagan, his ex-wife, who is organsing his voyage, said from Britain.
The 46-year-old entered the eastern end of the treacherous sea route that
stretches from Asia to Europe across northern Russia in late July.
He had hoped that his 11m reinforced yacht would be able to get all the way
to Europe due to lighter ice conditions observed in recent years, thought
to be a result of global warming.
But after making his way through the Chukchi, East Siberian and Laptev
Seas, Flanagan has been forced to a halt by heavy ice at the most difficult
point in the route, the Vilkitsky Strait.
The voyage, part of a circumnavigation of the globe that he is undertaking,
comes amid a dash by world powers to claim economic rights in the Arctic.
Flanagan is now anchored by an island just east of the Vilkitsky Strait,
still hoping for the ice to clear.