Russian ice breakers escorted cargo ships from Archangel to Pervek on an Arctic Ocean trip beginning on 14 December 2016 and arriving on 7 January 2017. It was thought that the temperature and the condition of the ice were such that they could make the return trip. But they did not get far before they were stopped by very thick ice. They had aerial surveys made of the of the route back to Archangel and concluded that it would not be passable for the cargo ships. The map of the area of the Arctic Ocean were the ship traveled is shown below:
From The Siberian Times comes this quote:
“But now a spokesman for Rosmorport has announced the icebreakers will delay a return until probably May or early June. ‘The vessels will remain for the winter because of the very heavy severe ice conditions,’ he said.
All the vessel got out of the ice, and three of them – Captain Dranitsyn and the two cargo ships – returned to Pevek. The Admiral Makarov moved further east to continue working for Rosmorport in clearing sea routes.
Officials said the icebreakers could have gone further through the ice but there was ‘a very high risk of significant damage’ to the supply ships, and it was decided to postpone the return to Archangelsk.”
I guess the North-West Passage is still not open for business. Hard to believe because that famous guru, Al Gore said the Arctic Ocean would be ice free by 2010. And isn’t he the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize for such prized predictions as that one.
As an aside, I often forget how small the distance between Russia and the United States (State of Alaska) is. During the last glacial era, that point is said to be the “land bridge” that began the population of North America.