Friday, August 25, 2023

"French cruise ship makes rendezvous with Russian nuclear icebreaker near North Pole"

If there is any icebreaker in the world to have nearby as you cruise to the North Pole it is the "50 Years of Victory." There are other newer, heavier icebreakers but the big Russian ship was built to get to the North Pole if need be, in winter.

From The Barents Observer, August 20, 2023:

In thick Arctic sea-ice, 150 meter long icebreaking cruise vessel Le Commandant Charcot makes acquaintance with Russia's 50 Let Pobedy

The meeting between the two vessels took place in remote Arctic waters not far from the North Pole.

Video made by passengers onboard the 50 Let Pobedy and shared on social media shows the two vessels trading greetings and sailing side by side through thick sea-ice.

On board the brand new French cruise vessel are up to 450 people, of them 270 passengers, and the tourists are seen waving to the Russian ship as they break through the ice.

The distance between the two powerful ships is only a few dozen meters.....

Helicopters from both the Le Commandant Charcot and the 50 Let Pobedy were in the air when the two ships met in the sea-ice. Screenshot from video


We looked at  Le Commandant Charcot in 2019 when they planned to head north by 2021. Then Covid intervened but our opinion of the ship and the tours hasn't changed:

"French Cruise Ship Set to Travel to North Pole in 2021"
This does not seem like a good idea.
Not at all.
With other types of eco-tourism you can at least make the rationalization that the tourists will spend some money in what are usually pretty poor places. Not on board a boat in the middle of the ice pack though.

And speaking of money, there's the issue of how big a rescue bond should be posted—$10 million might prove to be insufficient depending on the complexity of the rescue.

One positive, with the LNG powertrains they won't be spewing carbon particulates onto the ice, something the Chinese coal-fired power plants do with awful effects on the albedo of the great white north. (Russia burning heavy fuel oil up there doesn't help)

You need the ice.

So the polar bears can walk out to nosh on passengers should the boat get stuck for too long.

Here's Ponant's homepage for Le Commandant Charcot, it does look fascinating.