October 5 marked the start of a comprehensive, ecological expedition to study the western part of the Northern Sea Route (NSR); the expedition is overseen by Moscow State University’s Marine Research Centre. Commissioned by ROSATOM, the study will take place aboard the research vessel “Aleksey Maryshev,” which was provided by ROSATOM-subsidiary, The Hydrographic Enterprise.
The project’s aim is to establish regular monitoring of the impact that activity along the Northern Sea Route could have on the ecology of the Arctic. As part of this expedition, researchers will collect marine and ambient air samples, study sea-floor sediment and observe marine wildlife.
The expedition set off on 5 October and will last for approximately six weeks. ROSATOM is collaborating with researchers from Lomonosov Moscow State University on the project.
Alexander Bengert, General Director of FSUE Hydrographic Enterprise, the ROSATOM subsidiary managing the project, commented: “Developing the Northern Sea Route cannot be done without carefully assessing and monitoring the environmental implications. All businesses operating in the Arctic have a responsibility to carry out their operations in an environmentally responsible manner to protect the Arctic’s fragile and unique ecosystem.”
Nikolai Shabalin, Director of the Marine Research Centre at Lomonosov Moscow State University, added: “By carrying out the first detailed ecological study of the Northern Sea Route, we aim to not only develop a better understanding of the Arctic’s marine ecosystem but also to assess how shipping could have an impact. Our fieldwork data will enable us to develop innovative approaches to protecting the Arctic’s ecology and biodiversity. These new insights will help to ensure that the Northern Sea Route is developed in as environmentally sensitive a manner as possible.”