In the meantime, on board the icebreaker Polarstern, the MOSAiC expedition continues. The ship’s current coordinates are 87°7’ North and 16°59’ East. Those researchers and crew returning from the second leg of the expedition on board the Russian icebreaker Kapitan Dranitsyn have made good progress through the ice since departing from the MOSAiC floe on 6 March. On 14 March they rendezvoused as planned with another Russian icebreaker, Admiral Makarov, at 84°48’ North and 42°35’ East, to bunker additional fuel for the voyage home.
Moreover, the planned crew exchange by aeroplane in early April should – barring unforeseen developments – still be possible. Nevertheless, both the project management and participants are preparing for the additional challenges the pandemic may entail. For example, Norway’s quarantine policy will most likely remain in effect in April, which means participating researchers will need to allow a great deal of time prior to the fourth leg of the expedition. All participants have been requested to use the utmost caution to avoid infection. Before being allowed on board the ship, they will be tested for corona twice: once before leaving their point of origin, to avoid spreading the virus by travel, and once more at the expedition’s point of departure, to minimise the risk of introducing the virus among the expedition team. Further, Polarstern is equipped with a quarantine ward, in the event that, despite all precautions, there is an infection on board.