KRASIN

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The "Krasin" is a A1 Class Finnish built icebreaker operated by the Russian company FESCO (Far Eastern Shipping Company) and based in Vladivostok in Siberia. It was built in 1976 and is 442 feet long and can break ice up to 6 feet thick.   The vessel was named after a famous Soviet icebreaker which in 1928 rescued the Italian North Pole expedition led by Umberto Nobile and later came to the Monte-Servantes liner's rescue thereby deterring a major catastrophe at sea.

Becuase of extreme ice build up in McMurdo Sound over the past winter season caused by the giant B15A iceberg and the availability of only a single US Coast Guard icebreaker, the "Polar Star", it was decided by the American Deep Freeze authorities to hire the "Krasin" for the 2004-05 McMurdo "break-in". FESCO have however signed a long term multi-year contract for  "Krasin" to act as support ship to oil rig operations in the Sea of Okhotsk from March 2005 onwards so it is likely that the 2004-05 season is the only time that "Krasin" will be employed in the Antarctic.

The "Krasin" departed Vladivostok on December 21st, 2004 and arrived at the Ross Sea ice edge exactly one month later on January 21st, 2005.

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KRASIN 1.       2005 (February 2nd) Illustrated Postcard posted at McMurdo Station      Price US$10

Note: The above postcard has two ships cachets of the "Krasin" including a special one for the Antarctic voyage and has also been personally signed by the master of the vessel, Captain Viktor Kovalchuk. The postcard has been posted out through the McMurdo APO Post Office.

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KRASIN 2.       2005 (February 2nd) Paquebot envelope posted at McMurdo Station      Price US$8

Note: This envelope bears a Russian Antarctic souvenir sheet as well as another single Russian stamp. The item has been posted paquebot at McMurdo Station. Interestingly the envelope is also marked "Damaged by Sea Water in Transit" at top left and does show some sign of this (see airmail cachet at top left) but it is not clear where this damage happened.

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KRASIN 3.       2005 (February 2nd) Illustrated Postcard posted at McMurdo Station      Price US$8

Note: similar to item Krasin 1 but addressed to New Zealand and with Captain Kovalchuk's name rubber stamp added. Captain Kovalchuk is shown at right.

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The view at left taken from McMurdo Station shows from left to right the American Research vessel "Nathaniel B. Palmer", the Coast Guard icebreaker "Polar Star" and the  "Krasin". 

All 3 icebreakers helped open the ice channel into McMurdo Station.

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KRASIN 4.       2005 (February 7th) Illustrated Postcard posted at McMurdo Station      Price US$5

Note: A similar postcard to previous item but postmarked 5 days later and addressed locally within McMurdo Station and without Captain's signature.

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KRASIN 5.       2005 (February 7th) Illustrated Postcard posted at McMurdo Station      Price US$5

Note: The above postcard has the three cachets shown at right on its reverse.

It has also been datestamped 7th February 2005 at McMurdo but with a different postmark.

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KRASIN 6.       2005 (February 7th) Illustrated Postcard posted at McMurdo Station      Price US$8

Note: The above postcard has an interesting view showing the "Krasin" leading the supply vessel "American Tern" and the "Polar Star" through the pack ice. The postcard also bears the ships cachet of the "American Tern".  This ship and the oil tanker "Paul Buck" shown at right being led by the "Krasin" were the two important supply vessels for the season. For those wondering how it was possible, the illustration on the postcard at bottom left was added after the postcard had been received.

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KRASIN 7.       2005 (February 10th) Illustrated Postcard posted at McMurdo Station      Price US$5

Note: The above postcard shows a view of the "Krasin" working in McMurdo Sound in January 2005. It was taken by a crewman on board the "Nathaniel B. Palmer".

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KRASIN 8.       2005 (February 10th) Illustrated Postcard posted at McMurdo Station      Price US$3

Note: Similar to the previous item but with only one of the "Krasin" cachets. Addressed locally within McMurdo Station.

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KRASIN 9.       2005 (February 10th) Illustrated Postcard posted at McMurdo Station      Price US$5

Note: Similar to the previous item but with both of the "Krasin" cachets as well as a Deep freeze cachet. It also has the different APO postmark.  Addressed locally within McMurdo Station.

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KRASIN 10.       2005 (February 14th) Illustrated Postcard posted through Scott Base.      Price US$5

The above postcard has a single "Krasin" cachet as well as a Scott Base cachet as it has been posted via the Ross Dependency mail system. It is dated slightly later as Scott Base mail does not get postmarked until it arrives in Christchurch.

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This attractive rear view of the "Krasin" in McMurdo Sound shows the vessel with her protective rear fender deployed which she does when towing a vessel. The "Krasin" departed the Ross Sea on the 9th of February and headed back to Vladivostok which she reached on March 5th 2005.


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