Photo: Acker Arctic, Russian Icebreaker Baltika
gCaptain reports successful completion of trials of Russia new concept icebreaker Baltika. The unique design allows the relatively small icebreaker, similar in size and power to USCGC Mackinaw, to open a channel wider than its own beam. The ship has a beam of 20.5 meters but has demonstrated the ability to open a 50 meter wide channel.
According to Project Manager Mika Hovilainen who was on board the vessel during the ice trials, “Baltika’s voyage to the Gulf of Ob proves the exceptional operational capability of the oblique icebreaker concept in very difficult ice conditions. The vessel could operate in ice conditions that exceeded the design criteria used as the basis of the vessel concept. Baltika could carry out the same operations as conventional icebreakers with just half of the propulsion power as well as perform maneuvers which are not possible for any other vessel currently in service.”