In August 2005, the Akademik Fyodorov of Russia was the first ship to reach the North Pole without icebreaker help. The Norwegian shipyard Aker Yards is building innovative vessels that sail forward in clear waters, and then turn around to plow with their sterns through heavier ice.
The reason the ship could reach the North Pole without icebreak help is because the Akademik Fyodorov is an ice breaker. Duh.
The ship’s name is sometimes reported as “Fedorov“. You can see both names used in multiple web sites, including here – you can verify the same ship is the same one shown in photos captioned with either name. A Russian linguist tells me that the different spelling is doing to transliteration between Russian and English – they are otherwise the same name.
As shown below, both names are shown with the same IMO number. The IMO number is a unique number assigned by the International Maritime Organization to each ship. The Fyodorov and the Federov have the same IMO number, meaning this is the same ship.
The ship was built by Aker Yards but at a shipyard in Finland not Norway. It is a scientific research vessel but like numerous ships in the Russian fleets, serves dual purpose as an ice breaker. In a 2007 trip to the North Pole, the ship followed behind a nuclear powered ice breaker.
The error seems to have originated with the questionable news site Sputnik which misreported the story. Sputnik appears on an official list of sites known to publish fake news. PolitiFact says Sputnik International published false stories and is alleged to be a Russian government propaganda outlet.
The country of manufacture and that the ship is an ice breaker was misreported by the Washington Post. What else in the story is fiction?
The way to respond to accusations of fictional news reporting is to double down on accuracy, objectivity and remaining calm. Unfortunately, the news industry continues to harm itself through self destructive behavior typical of middle school drama. This behavior is bewildering.