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Discovery of the wreck of the Soviet steamer Chelyuskin on the bed of the Chukchi Sea

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  16 January 2007

William Barr
Affiliation:
Arctic Institute of North America, University of Calgary, 2500 University Drive NW, Calgary T2N 1N4, Alberta, Canada

Abstract

In 1933, the steamer Chelyuskin sailed from Murmansk, east bound to attempt a transit of the Northern Sea Route to the Pacific, in order to demonstrate that such a transit could be achieved in one season. The vessel became beset in heavy ice in the Chukchi Sea, and after drifting with the ice for over two months, was crushed and sank on 13 February 1934. Apart from one fatality, her entire complement of 104 people was able to establish a camp on the sea ice. The Soviet government organised an impressive aerial evacuation, under which all were rescued. Following several unsuccessful attempts, the wreck was located on the bed of the Chukchi Sea by a Russian expedition, Chelyuskin-70, in mid-September 2006. Two small components of the ship's superstructure were recovered by divers and were sent to the ship's builders, Burmeister and Wein of Copenhagen, for identification.

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© 2007 Cambridge University Press

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