Russians Building More Icebreakers

MarineLink reports that the Russians have contracted for two new icebreakers.

The icebreakers of Aker ARC 130 A design are about 122 m long overall and have a beam of 25 m and design draft of 8m. The vessels have a diesel-electric power plant and the combined propulsion power of the three azimuth thrusters is 21.5 MW.  (28,820 HP–Chuck)


8 thoughts on “Russians Building More Icebreakers

  1. While the new Russian icebreakers are quite big and can break 7 ft ice, I wonder if the concept (three azimuth thrusters, one in bow and two in stern) could be adapted to a smaller scale and become the next-generation USCG icebreaker/buoy tender for the Great Lakes. Based on recent photographs, the icebreaking vessels in the region are mostly operating in ice channels and brash ice, and the triple-thruster system is superior to conventional alternatives (that is, USCGC Mackinaw) in such ice conditions. Of course, you could go all the way and make the ship asymmetrical like the one that was just successfully tested in the Arctic…

  2. Two Russian 18 MW “Project 21900M” icebreakers were recently tested in the Arctic:

    In total, Russia has built five ships of this type (two “Project 21900”, three “Project 21900M”) in the past years:
    – Moskva (2008)
    – Sankt-Peterburg (2009)
    – Vladivostok (2015)
    – Murmansk (2016)
    – Novorossiysk (under construction; to be delivered in 2016).

    These are the first large non-nuclear icebreakers completely designed and built by Russian shipbuilding companies (one was built by Russian-owned shipyard in Finland). Now that the design has been proven to be feasible (unlike the 25 MW icebreaker that is delayed by several years), I’m quite sure there will be repeat orders, likely with only minor modifications. Most of the existing non-nuclear state-owned icebreaker fleet was built in the 1970s and 1980s, and is due to be replaced in the coming years. This could be the new workhorse for non-Arctic freezing seas as well as Arctic routes during the summer season.

    Anyway, in general this is yet another signal that Russia is actively renewing and developing the icebreaker fleet. These are not one-off designs – they are in serial production.

  3. The Russians published a nearly 5-minute video about the construction of the first vessel, showing the shipyard facilities and the vessel in various stages of construction:

    Unlike many other yards, this one builds the larger vessels directly onboard a semisubmersible barge. Also, some fairly heavy steel plating is shown.

      • It’s the “Arctic Gates” offshore oil terminal operated by the Russian oil company Gazprom Neft. Located few miles offshore in the Gulf of Ob, it is used to load oil from the Novoportovskoye field to purpose-built ice-class shuttle tankers that will carry it to Murmansk for transshipment. While the tankers can generally sail all the way to the loading tower (you can see the channel ending in front of the terminal), this icebreaker and her sister vessel will be stationed nearby year-round for the next 25 years or so, providing icebreaking assistance during the harshest winter conditions as well as preparedness for oil spill response, firefighting etc.

        There is also another offshore oil terminal in Russia, Varandey FOIROT (Fixed Offshore Ice-Resistant Offloading Terminal), but it’s of slightly different design. As is apparent from the video, the ice around “Arctic Gates” is mostly landfast and stationary whereas in Varandey it’s in constant motion, necessitating active ice management during the loading operations. The following video (Big Bigger Biggest – Ice Breaker) may be region-locked in the US, but if you can find it, there’s good footage and explanation of the operation around 39:50.

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