Akademik Shokalskiy

Akademik Shokalskiy current position

Akademik Shokalskiy current location is at East Asia (coordinates 43.10498 N / 131.92596 E) cruising en route to VLADIVOSTOK. The AIS position was reported 5 minutes ago.

Current Position

Specifications of Akademik Shokalskiy

Year of build1982  /  Age: 42
Flag state Russia
BuilderOy Laivateollisuus AB (Turku, Finland)
Classice-strengthened research ship
Ferry route / homeportsVladivostok
Speed14 kn / 26 km/h / 16 mph
Length (LOA)71 m / 233 ft
Beam (width)13 m / 43 ft
Gross Tonnage1764 gt
Decks with cabins2
Last Refurbishment2017
Sister-shipsAkademik Shuleykin (Polar Pioneer), Professor Molchanov, Professor Multanovskiy, Professor Khromov (Spirit of Enderby)
OwnerRussian Federation (via Gidrometflot)
OperatorHeritage Expeditions New Zealand (via FERHRI-Far Eastern Regional Hydrometeorological Research Institute)

Akademik Shokalskiy Review

Review of Akademik Shokalskiy

The 1982-built MV Akademik Shokalskiy ("Академик Шокальский") is an ice-strengthened vessel/polar expedition cruise ship owned by Russian Federation and operated under charter by the Christchurch NZ-based Heritage Expeditions (New Zealand travel company specializing in Arctic and Antarctic cruises and wildlife tours). The vessel is state-owned but managed by FERHRI - Vladivostok's "Far Eastern Regional Hydrometeorological Research Institute". The other vessel chartered by Heritage Expeditions NZ is Professor Khromov (1983-built, aka Spirit of Enderby).

The vessel (IMO number 8010336) is currently Russia-flagged (MMSI 273458210) and registered/homeported in Vladivostok.

This polar-class expedition ship was built in Finland and was originally used as an oceanographic research vessel. Following the 1998 major drydock refurbishment, the ship started operations on Arctic and Antarctic research missions and also on privately chartered polar expedition cruise itineraries. From the same Akademik Shuleykin-class are also the research ships (converted and now operated as cruise vessels) Akademik Shuleykin (1982, now Polar Pioneer), Professor Molchanov (1982), Professor Multanovskiy (1983) and Professor Khromov (1984, fka Spirit of Enderby).

Akademik Shokalskiy cruise ship

The ship is named after Yuly Mikhailovich Shokalsky (1856-1940) - Russian oceanographer and cartographer. The ship's amenities and onboard facilities include 2 passenger decks, dining room, bar, library, sauna room.

MS Shokalskiy cruises along Russia's Arctic coast (including on the Northeast Passage route) and also to East Antarctica leaving roundtrip from Ushuaia Argentina.

Between December 25 (2013) and January 8 (2014), the ship remained trapped in heavy ice in Antarctica, The accident occurred in Commonwealth Bay and during the "Australasian Antarctic Expedition". All its passengers (scientists and cruise tourists) were evacuated on January 2, 2014.

  • The cruise ship was chartered by "Australasian Antarctic Expedition 2013-2014". From all the 74 passengers and crew, 4 were journalists, 19 scientists, 26 cruise tourists, the expedition leader's family (wife and 2 kids) plus the 22 crew/staff. The Antarctic-bound itinerary started from Bluff (New Zealand).
  • On December 25 2013 (at ~07:20 am) the ship broadcast a distress call after it became trapped in thick ice near Antarctica's coast - approx 190 km (120 mi) east of Dumont D'Urville base and approx 2800 km (1700 mi) south of Hobart Tasmania.
  • The Chinese icebreaker Xue Long, the French icebreaker L'Astrolabe and the Australian icebreaker Aurora Australis were dispatched to assist the trapped cruise ship. Xue Long arrived first but was unable to come closer than approx 11 km (7 ml) from the ship. Xue Long deployed its helicopter to assist the rescue operation. L'Astrolabe was also stopped by thick ice. On December 27, Aurora Australis also came just to atop approx 19 km (12 ml) from the stranded cruise ship.
  • On January 2, 2014, from MV Akademik Shokalskiy were evacuated all the 52 passengers, transported to Aurora Australis via the Chinese icebreaker's helicopter.
  • Following the rescue operation, Aurora Australis icebreaker continued on its supply mission to Casey Station (permanent Australian Antarctic base) then returned to Hobart Tasmania on January 22, 2014.
  • The cruise ship's 22 crew members stayed on the ship until it was freed on January 8. The ship returned to Bluff NZ on January 14. No injuries were reported.

MS Shokalskiy is one of all 10 Akademik Shuleykin-class Russian ships built in the mid-1980s in Finland for the Soviet Union's oceanographic research purposes. Around half of these vessels ended up as chartered for polar cruise tours ships.

Akademik Shokalskiy cruise ship

Akademik Shokalskiy is one of the Laivateollisuus-built research ships of the USSR's Akademik Shuleykin-class (Project 637). The vessel (Turku shipyard/hull number 343) is powered by two marine diesel engines (model 6ChRN 36/45 ) with combined power output 2,3 MW. The propulsion system is single-shaft, with one CPP/controllable-pitch propeller.

Laivateollisuus Oy was a shipbuilding yard in Turku Finland (operated between 1944-1988. In 1983, the shipbuilder was acquired by Valmet Marine, which in 1987 became part of Wartsila just to be closed down in 1988. The Laivateollisuus company built various types of marine vessels, including schooners (a total of ninety 3-masted wooden schooners). In its peak, the shipbuilding yard was Turku's 3rd-largest (following Valmet and Crichton-Vulcan) with around 750 employees.


On August 23, 2020, started the eastbound 27-day Northeast Passage itinerary (Anadyr to Murmansk) along the Russian Arctic Sea Route with stops in the Severnaya Zemlya Archipelago. Again chartered by Heritage Expeditions (New Zealand), the Shokalskiy ship repeated its Northeast Passage from 2017.

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