Chirikov, Aleksey


Aleksey Chirikov (1703-1748) was a Russian navigator and captain who along with Bering was the first Russian to reach the northwestern coast of North America.

In 1721 Chirikov graduated from the Naval  Academy. In 1725–1730 and 1733–1743 he was Vitus Bering's deputy during the  First and the Second Kamchatka expeditions.

In May 1741 Chirikov on  St. Paul and Vitus Bering on St. Peter left  Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky and headed east.

On 15 July 1741 Chirikov saw land at Baker Island off Prince of Wales Island at the south end of the Alaska Panhandle. This is  about 450 miles southeast of Bering's landfall near Mount St. Elias at the north  end of the panhandle. Unable to find a harbor he sailed north along Baranov  Island past the later Russian base at Sitka. He sent out a longboat to find an  anchorage. When it did not return after a week he sent out his second longboat  which also failed to return. Now without any small boats Chirikov had no way of  searching for the two longboats or landing on the coast to explore or replenish  his supply of fresh water. After waiting as long as possible, he abandoned the  longboats to their fate and on 27 July sailed west. He sighted the Kenai  Peninsula, Kodiak Island and Adak Island near the western end of the Aleutians. With water critically low he reached Petropavlovsk on 12 October 1741.

In  1742, Chirikov was in charge of a search party for Bering's ship St.  Peter. During this trip, he located Attu Island. Chirikov took part in  creating the final map of the Russian discoveries in the Pacific Ocean (1746). 

The multifunctional icebreaking platform supply vessel was named after Alexey Chirikov. The vessel will ensure uninterrupted operations aboard oil platforms in the Arkutun-Dagi field in the Sea of Okhotsk.