May 24, 2021

Icebreaker Unearthed


Icebreaker Unearthed
An old-timey photograph of the Vaigach. Wikimedia Commons user MPowerDrive

The wrecked Russian icebreaker Vaygach – the first icebreaker to sail the elusive Northern Sea Route. – was recently found in Yeniseysky Gulf in Russia's Kara Sea.

A Russian Geographical Society and Northern Fleet joint expedition made the discovery with the help of an underwater drone. The ship has not been seen since the "Spanish" flu – it was lost in the Yeniseisky Gulf in 1918.

In its short, twenty-year career, the Vaygach discovered Severnaya Zemlya (in 1913) and charted the Eastern Siberian coast. Its first captain was Alexander Kolchak, a polar explorer whose achievements were covered up during Soviet times because he became the "supreme ruler" of an anti-Bolshevik government in Siberia (1918-1920).

The 60-meter steam icebreaker was built in 1909 in the Nevsky Shipyard in Shlisselburg, near St. Petersburg – where the Neva River empties into Lake Ladoga.

Check out the article to see a photograph of the Vaygach going down in 1918, with a surprisingly calm and photogenic crew posing for the camera.

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