Fuchs in Murmansk on board the "Dagmar Aaen" during the decision-making phase
As the office of the expedition leader Arved Fuchs reports, the official bodies in the port of Murmansk have been refusing the German team for two weeks the onward journey to the Franz Josef Land, which is only 900 kilometers from the North Pole and has so far hardly been explored:
"With the" Dagmar Aaen ", Fuchs and the national park administration wanted to seek out historical traces and camps of earlier polar expeditions and document the climatic changes in the Russian Arctic. The expedition would have been a rare opportunity for the national park experts on board, but hardly touched Visiting regions of Franz-Josef-Land.
But the Russian authorities have now destroyed these plans. With constantly new requirements and contradicting interpretations of the law, they prevent the "Dagmar Aaen" from continuing their journey from Murmansk to the Arctic.
The already short window of time is closing
For Fuchs, the already short window of time in which a trip to these northern regions is even possible closes. Officially, the expedition does not have a permit to sail on international waters - although there is free travel worldwide in these sea areas. But the Russian Border Guard demands papers from "Dagmar Aaen" without being able to say who should issue such documents at all. Russian ships, on the other hand, are allowed to travel to Franz Josef Land.
The arbitrariness of the authorities causes a stir
The arbitrary treatment has meanwhile also sparked diplomatic inquiries in Moscow. The Foreign Office got involved. The blockade of the "Dagmar Aaen" has meanwhile also become a media topic. Russian newspapers and television stations report on the barely comprehensible actions of the Murmansk border authorities.
Both Arved Fuchs and the employees of the national park reacted disappointed to the decision of the authorities. The chance to explore and document this largely unknown region of the High Arctic thanks to the exceptionally favorable ice conditions failed due to the bureaucratic stubbornness of the Russian border guards.
New plan - Svalbard
Fuchs is now planning to sail to Spitsbergen at short notice in order to document climatic changes there since the last visit in 2007. Further details of the newly planned expedition are currently still being worked out.