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    Re: Northeast passage. was:Polar Possessions of the SU.
    From: George Huxtable
    Date: 2004 Nov 22, 00:23 +0000

    Alex Eremenko sparked off discussion recently about Soviet icebreaker
    passages recently, which raised some interest.
    I've had my eyes open for a book on the topic and have now found, and read,
    "Arktika", by Oliver Walston (Sinclair-Stevenson, London, 1994).
    Walston, though an English farmer, is something of a nut about the Arctic,
    and managed to get himself invited to a voyage on the nuclear icebreaker
    Arktika from Murmansk through the Northeast Passage. He doesn't give the
    year, but it was the time of Yeltsin's election, whenever that was, and
    things were opening up.
    There's quite a lot of interesting stuff in it, but rather more than I
    needed about his socialisings with the crew. It seems that Russian Arctic
    navigation is largely fuelled by vodka.
    It was early in the season, and the ice was still thick. He tells of an
    interesting episode in which a merchant vessel, heading for Dudinka, is
    having its path cleared by a non-nuclear icebreaker, the Captain Sorokin.
    However, Sorokin herself was stuck in thick ice, and Arktica had to dig
    them both out, and clear the way for both over several days. Walston muses
    about the economics of using two icebreakers, one nuclear, to escort a
    single merchant vessel, and wonders how the system will survive in the
    forthcoming era of capitalism. I wonder, too, how it has fared so far.
    Just short of the Bering Straits, and clear of solid ice, Walston
    transferrred to a tanker at Pevek, which took him to Nakhoda, to fly back
    from Vladivostok.
    There was a lot I didn't know about the Northeast Passage, and this book
    has filled in some of the gaps, but left a number of unanswered questions.
    contact George Huxtable by email at george---.u-net.com, by phone at
    01865 820222 (from outside UK, +44 1865 820222), or by mail at 1 Sandy
    Lane, Southmoor, Abingdon, Oxon OX13 5HX, UK.

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