The National Science Foundation (NSF) has reached an agreement to use the Russian Icebreaker Vladimir Ignatyuk. The icebreaker will be used for the major annual resupply and refuel mission that provides the main supplies that McMurdo needs to operate at its current capacity throughout the year. The icebreaker will be used to lead the ships that resupply and refuel the base through the ice.
Previously, the NSF used a Swedish icebreaker, but recently the Swedish government decided it needed to keep the icebreaker up north. The NSF and Murmansk Shipping Company have signed a multi-year contract to use the Vladimir Ignatyuk at least until the U.S. Coast Guard Polar Star is done with its major relift in 2014.
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