Members of the expedition on the delimitation of the Russian Arctic shelf on the research vessel Akademik Fyodorov have begun seismic studies in the area north of Franz Josef Land, a representative of the Rosatom Flot (Russian Atomic Fleet) company Ekaterina Ananyeva said.
The nuclear-powered icebreaker Rossiya left the port of Murmansk earlier this month to accompany the Akademik Fyodorov on a second mission to determine the boundaries of Russia’s continental shelf in the Arctic.
“The expedition began its research on July 9,” Ananyeva said.
Russia is planning to file a proposal to a UN Commission in 2012 to expand its Arctic shelf borders, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov said earlier in July.
Russia is still in a dispute with Canada over the Lomonosov Ridge, with both countries trying to persuade a UN commission that it is an extension of its own continental shelf. The sides have agreed that scientific evidence should resolve the dispute.
The main goal of the two-month-long expedition is to measure the thickness of the bottom silt along the Lomonosov Ridge as part of the evidence that supports Russia’s territorial claim.
The settlement of the dispute in Russia’s favor will give the country the right to develop vast energy resources on the Arctic shelf.
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin reiterated last week that Russia will not backtrack on its territorial claims on the underwater Lomonosov and Mendeleev ridges in the Arctic region and will protect its geopolitical interests “firmly and consistently.”
Russia sent the first expedition on a similar mission last year, when the Akademik Fyodorov was accompanied by the Yamal nuclear icebreaker.