Year-round navigation along the Northern Sea Route cannot be organized without the support of the icebreaker fleet, Alexander Makarov, Director of the Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute, said during the NEVA 2023 Exhibition & Conference.
Summer in the Arctic lasts only 8-10 weeks. In winter, there will be solid ice up to two meters thick along the entire Northern Sea Route. This will be an insurmountable obstacle for most ships without the development of icebreaker assistance, Alexander Makarov said.
According to the data collected by the AARI scientists, the sea ice extent in the waters of the Arctic seas has been rapidly decreasing since 1996 and has decreased by more than 8 times in 10 years. In the following years, the ice extent fluctuated near this level. However, in September 2021, it increased by almost 200 thousand square kilometers and will remain at this level for the next 5 years.
The NEVA 2023 international exhibition takes place every 2 years in St. Petersburg. Overall, the current event hosts about 700 exhibitors along with over 30,000 delegates.