Expedition heads to Franz-Josef Land in August to search for wrecked schooner Svyataya Anna
© RIA Novosti. Alexei Druzhinin

Expedition heads to Franz-Josef Land in August to search for wrecked schooner Svyataya Anna

The expedition, dubbed In the Two Captains' Footsteps, will search for the schooner Svyataya Anna (St. Anna), which disappeared in 1914. The expedition will head for the Franz-Josef Land archipelago in August 2017, Development Director of Zhivaya Priroda Club Marina Patsai told RIA Novosti.  

"We plan to head for Franz-Josef Land in August," Patsai told RIA Novosti. "We have two goals — first, to bury the human remains that we found in 2010, and second, to search for the site where the schooner Svyataya Anna might have gone down."

Patsai said that the expedition's yacht will leave Naryan-Mar on July 25 and arrive at the archipelago on August 4. The expedition members will work at the site until August 25.  

Patsai said the expedition will first search for traces of the Svyataya Anna in the archipelago's northeast. The second stage will be to bury the remains of a crewmember from the schooner, discovered in 2010 during an expedition led by polar explorer Oleg Prodan.

"The remains will be delivered from the island of Alexandra Land to the island of Zemlya Georga (Prince George Land), to the site where they were discovered," Patsai said. "Representatives of the Russian Orthodox Church and officials will be invited to take part in the burial, and a memorial sign will be erected there."

RIA Novosti said that 2017 marks the 105th anniversary since three large polar expeditions set off for the Arctic, marking the start of the Far North development in the 20th century. All three expeditions ended in tragedy, but it was the schooner Svyataya Anna, captained by naval lieutenant Georgy Brusilov, which met with the most enigmatic fate. Only two of its crewmembers managed to survive and its whereabouts remain a mystery to this day. The ill-fated expedition's story was the basis of a famous book by Veniamin Kaverin, "Two Captains."

Honoured Polar Explorer of Russia Oleg Prodan led an expedition in search of the ship in 2010-2011, which, for the first time in a century, discovered evidence of the heroic voyage. Prodan's expedition discovered the remains of one of Brusilov's crewmembers, along with his personal effects and diaries.