AP PHOTOS: Portraits of an icebreaker crew, researchers

July 22, 2017
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Researcher Daria Gritsenko, 30, of the University of Helsinki, sits for a portrait in her cabin aboard the Finnish icebreaker MSV Nordica as the ship sails north in the Bering Sea toward the Arctic, Thursday, July 13, 2017. She is hoping to learn more about the Northwest Passage to aid her work in energy development in the Arctic. Although this will be her first transit through the passage, she has been to Svalbard, a Norwegian archipelago in the Arctic. "I love the Arctic. It's such a powerful nature that I felt so little in comparison," she said. "It makes you realize how much of dust you are on this planet. It's very intimidating but I felt very calm inside." (AP Photo/David Goldman)

THE ARCTIC CIRCLE (AP) — The ship hadn’t yet left Vancouver for the Arctic Circle’s Northwest Passage when the icebreaking began — with a round of “introduce yourself to the others.”

We’d already met a few crew members of the MSV Nordica icebreaker the day before, including Capt. Jyri Viljanen, a master mariner from Finland who has been going to sea for 39 years.

This month’s expedition through the Northwest Passage, with an Associated Press team and international researchers aboard, is Viljanen’s first transit through the passage.

Helping guide the ship safely through the treacherous waters is ice navigator Capt. David “Duke” Snider, a Canadian Coast Guard veteran with 35 years at sea and current president of The Nautical Institute for maritime professionals.

Others aboard include Cmdr. Bill Woityra, the ice operations division chief for the U.S. Coast Guard; marine consultant Nigel Greenwood, a retired Canadian admiral in charge of maritime forces in the Pacific; and Capt. Victor Gronmyr, a serving officer in the Canadian Coast Guard.

Two members of Canada’s indigenous Inuit community, Maatiusi Manning and David Kullualik, are on board to gain “ship time” as part of their merchant marine training. Manning and Kullualik hope eventually to work on an Inuit-owned fishing ship off Canada’s northeast coast.

Six scientists are accompanying the mission. Some, such as Daria Gritsenko of the University of Helsinki, are there to document the state of the ice and marine infrastructure along the Northwest Passage. Others, such as Scott Joblin of the Australian National University, will examine the legal and political issues arising from Arctic exploration and development.

The Nordica also has an experienced field biologist, Paula van Weller, on board. Van Weller is documenting wildlife encounters, including any sightings of polar bears, whales or seals.


Follow the team of AP journalists as they travel through the Arctic Circle’s fabled Northwest Passage: https://www.apnews.com/tag/NewArctic

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