The process of ‘vymorozka,’ which roughly translates as ‘freezing out,’ is backbreaking and tedious work that takes weeks in some of the world’s harshest conditions, with temperatures dropping to minus 50 degrees Celsius (-58 F).
Workers chip away at the ice encasing the ships, looking for areas in need of repair. The vessels are docked in the harbour of Yakutsk on the banks of the Lena River, Siberia’s economic lifeblood in summer, during the winter months.
Locals in Yakutia, Russia’s largest republic by landmass, name ‘vymorozka’ as one of the hardest jobs in the world, but the workers themselves say it’s all a matter of perspective.
“You dress the right way and that’s it. When you come (to a heated building) and get undressed, it’s like a sauna, steam rises from you,” worker Mikhail Klus, 48, told Reuters as he took a break from cutting through the ice with a chainsaw.
The work requires not only stamina and strength, but also extreme precision.
The labourers must be sure not to cut the ice too quickly and break through to the water below. If they do, the carved dugout can be submerged and the work is lost.
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Source : Reuters