Ukraine’s Cabinet of Ministers has allocated 252 million hryvnia, the equivalent of around $10.41 million at current exchange rates, for purchasing a scientific ice-breaker ship for Ukrainian scientists studying Antarctica.
The decision was made on November 20, the Cabinet of Ministers said in a press statement.
The purchase deal is expected to be signed before the end of 2019, and the ship will depart on its first voyage in 2020.
“Ukraine’s purchase of a ship of this class will enable us to be more independent in our studying of the World Ocean. Our scientists will have new opportunities starting next year. We are finalizing Ukraine’s polar research program for 2021-2030, in which we already take into account having our own ship,” observed Minister of Education Hanna Novosad.
Yevhen Diky, head of Ukraine’s National Antarctic Scientific Center, said that since the end of the 20th century Ukraine has not has its own vessels, which would enable it to study the World Ocean and support the Antarctic research at the Vernadsky Research Base. He believes that the acquisition of a new vessel will increase the country’s research capabilities.
The restoration of voyages is also relevant with respect to politics and economics. Ukraine has made international commitments to study the Southern Ocean, and is involved in fishing there.