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Akademik Shokalskiy

Akademik Shokalskiy Review and Specifications

Specifications of Akademik Shokalskiy

Year built1982  /  Age : 37
Flag state Russia
BuilderLaivateollisuus Oy (Meyer Turku, Finland)
Classice-strengthened research ship
OwnerRussian Federation
OperatorAurora Expeditions Australia
Speed14 kn / 26 kph / 16 mph
Length (LOA)71 m / 233 ft
Beam (width)13 m / 43 ft
Gross Tonnage1764 gt
Decks with cabins2
Last Refurbishment1998

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MV Akademik Shokalskiy ("Академик Шокальский”) is an ice-strengthened vessel owned by Russian Federation and operated under charter by the Sydney NSW-based Aurora Expeditions (Australian company specializing in Arctic and Antarctic cruises). The vessel is state-owned but managed by FERHRI - Vladivostok's "Far Eastern Regional Hydrometeorological Research Institute".

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.

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.

Akademik 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 ship's 22 crew. 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.

Akademik 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 cruise ship is one of the Laivateollisuus-built research ships of the USSR's Akademik Shuleykin-class (Project 637). The cruise ship is powered by 2x 6ChRN 36/45 marine diesel engines (combined power output 2300 kW) and has single-shaft propulsion with 1 controllable-pitch propeller.

The shipbuilder Laivateollisuus Oy was a Finnish shipbuilding yard in Turku (operated between 1944-1988. In 1983 the company 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.

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On August 23, 2020, starts 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 the small cruise line Heritage Expeditions, the Shokalskiy ship repeats its Northeast Passage from 2017.

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