Silence at the North Pole | Polarjournal
The North Pole has been reached. The dream of many tourists to have arrived at the northernmost point of the world is fulfilled. (Photo: Heiner Kubny)

All three tourist trips with Russia’s strongest icebreaker, the “50 Years of Victory” in July and August 2020 to the North Pole by Arctic expedition operator Poseidon Expeditions have been cancelled. This is due to the COVID-19 situation in Russia. The tour operator now addresses its travel partners and guests with reservations for the tours from Murmansk to the North Pole and offers rebookings.

Ceremony at the North Pole. Only at the northernmost point of the earth is it possible to orbit the world within 10 minutes. (Photo: Rosamaria Kubny)

“National travel bans and border restrictions related to COVID-19 have continued to create uncertainty and we have decided not to carry out scheduled Arctic cruises in the 2020 summer season. This has affected all areas of operation and required that we now postpone and reschedule all departures in the Arctic until the end of September 2020 to the next Arctic season 2021,” Poseidon Expeditions wrote in a statement. This also affected trips in Svalbard and to Franz Josef Land with the vessel “Sea Spirit”.

“For the North Pole, the situation is currently dictated by a ban on entry issued by the Russian Federation, which concerns foreigners who wish to visit Russian territory,” said a spokesman for Poseidon Expeditions.

“50 Let Pobedy” is the Russian name of the nuclear-powered icebreaker designed for use in polar regions. Currently, the “50 Let Pobedy” is the most modern and largest ship of the “Arktika” class. The 159-metre-long and 30-metre-wide icebreaker can break through ice with a thickness of four metres at a capacity of 75,000 hp, and has the highest Russian icebreaker class “9”. (Photo: Heiner Kubny)

Poseidon is optimistic about the 2021 summer season and says 90 percent of passengers with reservations for the 2020 season agree to postpone bookings until next year. The dates for the two-week trips in summer 2021 are set for 10 July, 21 July and 1 August.

Still rising COVID-19 infections in Russia

As of June 11, a total of 3,760 COVID-19 infections had been detected in the Murmansk region, of which 1,120 are currently being treated, according to regional authorities.

With a daily increase of more than 8,000 cases, the total number of infected persons registered in Russia exceeded the limit of 500,000 on June 11, according to official data.

No visitors to the North Pole in 2020

The annual “Icecamp Barneo” in April had to be cancelled early because of a ban on entry in Norway.

Quark Expeditions, the second provider of icebreaker trips to the North Pole, cancelled its entire Arctic program several months ago due to the COVID-19 virus.

Since no scientific trips to the North Pole are planned this year, it should remain quiet here.

Author: Heiner Kubny, PolarJournal

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