Vostok was a 28-gun sloop-of-war of the Imperial Russian Navy, the lead ship of the First Russian Antarctic Expedition in 1819–1821, during which Fabian Gottlieb von Bellingshausen (commander of the ship) and Mikhail Lazarev (commanding Mirny, the second ship) circumnavigated the globe, discovered the continent of Antarctica and twice circumnavigated it, and discovered a number of islands and archipelagos in the Southern Ocean and the Pacific.[1]

Vostok and its captain, Fabian Gottlieb von Bellingshausen on a commemorative coin of the Bank of Russia, 1994
Russian Empire
FateBroken up in 1828
General characteristics
Type24-gun sloop-of-war[1]
Displacement900 tonnes[1]
Length39.62 m (130.0 ft)[1]
Beam10.36 m (34.0 ft) [1]
Depth of hold4.8 m (15.7 ft)[1]
Sail planFull-rigged ship
Speed10 kn (19 km/h)[1]


Captain Fabian Gottlieb von Bellingshausen with the Cross of the Order of St. Vladimir

Vostok was launched in 1818 at Okhta Admiralty shipyard, Saint Petersburg.[1]

On 14 July [O.S. 3 July] 1819 Vostok under the command of Commander Fabian Gottlieb von Bellingshausen, the leader of the expedition, alongside Mirny under the command of Lieutenant Commander Mikhail Lazarev left Kronstadt and on 28 January [O.S. 16 January] 1820 reached the shore of Antarctica, which was sighted for the first time in history. After repair in Sydney in Australia, the expedition explored the tropical parts of the Pacific, and on 12 November [O.S. 31 October] 1820 again turned to Antarctica. On 22 January [O.S. 10 January] 1821 the sloops reached the southernmost point of their voyage at 69° 53' S and 92° 19' W. On 5 August [O.S. 24 July] 1821 they returned to Kronstadt.[1]

In 751 days they covered 49,723 miles (circa 92,300 km). Apart from the discovery of the world's sixth continent, Antarctica, 29 islands were mapped and complex oceanographic works carried out. A medal was issued by the Russian Admiralty to commemorate the expedition.[1]

In 1828 sloop Vostok was excluded from navy lists and scrapped.[1]

Named in honor

Vostok (left) and Mirny (right) during the First Russian Antarctic Expedition on a coin of the Bank of Russia


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Шлюп "Восток" (tr. "Sloop "Vostok"") at sailhistory.ru (in Russian)[dead link]
  2. ^ a b "Tattoo Archive – Vostok". Archived from the original on 2012-01-22. Retrieved 2012-02-16.
  3. ^ Vostok, Cape Geographic Names Information System[dead link]
  4. ^ Batson R.M., Russell J.F. (1994), Gazetteer of Planetary Nomenclature, United States Geological Survey Bulletin 2129 planetarynames.wr.usgs.gov[dead link]
  5. ^ a b Полвека в глубине Антарктиды (tr. "Half a century in the depths of Antarctica") Vokrug Sveta (in Russian), accessed 23 September 2022
  6. ^ Deep drilling at Vostok station, Antarctica: history and recent events[dead link]
  7. ^ Vostok Subglacial Highlands: Antarctica geographic.org, accessed 23 September 2022
  8. ^ Скончался первооткрыватель озера Восток в Антарктиде (tr. "Discoverer of Lake Vostok in Antarctica dies") Lenta.ru (in Russian), accessed 23 September 2022