On June 5 2018, a meeting of the Polar Commission of the St. Petersburg Department of the Russian Geographical Society was held at the HQ of the Society. Chairman of the Commission Victor Boyarsky gave an expedition task of the Russian Geographical Society to Maria Gavrilo, a polar explorer, member of the RGS, scientific leader of the expedition "The Open ocean: Archipelagos of the Arctic" and to captain of the expedition vessel "Alter Ego" Boris Khryashchev.
During the upcoming expedition starting on June 20 from Arkhangelsk, the participants will visit memorable places related to the history of the Arctic development and memorial events. Scientists will collect materials on Arctic marine mammal species to support the Society’s programs for the conservation of rare species, such as walrus, polar bear, Beluga whales and others. They will explore the territory of the Kandalaksha state natural reserve and the Russian Arctic national park; they will monitor the ecological state of the shores of specially protected natural areas.
Maria Gavrilo made a report dedicated to the 190th anniversary of the birth of British traveler Benjamin Leigh Smith (1828-1913) and spoke about the plans of the expedition to survey his steam yacht Eira. The shipwreck was discovered by the expedition “Open Ocean 2017” on the southern edge of Franz Josef Land.