Arctic Mission: go for launch
On 14 August 2017, the Arctic Mission team, led by the British Explorer Pen Hadow and skipper Erik de Jong, left Nome, Alaska bound for the Central Arctic Ocean.
A pioneering voyage under sail, Arctic Mission will demonstrate, with its two 50 foot sailing yachts, how almost half the 3,000,000 sq km area of international waters around the North Pole is ice-free and now navigable by surface vessels. The reduction of its summer-time sea-ice cover, observed over recent decades, is removing the natural physical shield that has protected these waters throughout human history. It is now possible for commercial shipping involving fishing, tourism, goods transport, and mineral extraction, and additionally military vessels, to take advantage of this newly accessible ocean.
With one of the world’s least explored and most vulnerable ecosystems at stake, Arctic Mission will be conducting vital research into the extraordinary animals, plants and microbes that have evolved to survive in these relatively cold, dark, ice-covered waters. Hadow and his Arctic Mission team, believes it is a global priority to develop international policy measures to protect this body of international water before its super-vulnerable marine life and ecosystem is critically disrupted, damaged or removed by shipping-based activities.
Hadow and de Jong lead fellow experienced high latitude skippers Krystina Scheller, Frances Brann and Jaap van Rijckevorsel and a team of five other Arctic Mission advocates: lead research scientist, Tim Gordon; wildlife research assistant, Heather Bauscher; photographer, Conor McDonnell; film-maker, Tegid Cartwright; and expedition doctor, Dr Nick Carter.
Watch Pen Hadow, Tim Gordon and Erik de Jong talk about Arctic Mission in their last Facebook Livestream on land.