Russians Build Three 33,540 ton Nuclear Icebreakers

Russia's '50 let Pobedy' is currently the world's largest icebreaker, displacing over 25,000 tons. Photo: Creative CommonsRussia’s ’50 let Pobedy’ is currently the world’s largest icebreaker, displacing over 25,000 tons. Photo: Creative Commons

gCaptain reports the Russians are building three huge 33,540 ton 173.3 meter (569 foot) nuclear powered icebreakers that are expected to be delivered by 2020, with the first to be completed in 2017.

These ships will be almost two and a half times as large as the Polar Class.

11 thoughts on “Russians Build Three 33,540 ton Nuclear Icebreakers

  1. I was surprised to find the general arrangements plan, complete with official stamps from the Russian Maritime Register of Shipping, from a Russian internet forum:–universalnye-atomnye-ledokoly-proekta-22220.html

    It would be interesting to develop a three-dimensional model of the hull form based on the drawings and make some estimates for the actual icebreaking capability. As for the ship itself, a triple-shaft configuration with single centerline rudder is a safe if not slightly conservative choice for a line icebreaker. When I was in the Russian Arctic earlier this year, I witnessed in person just how poor the maneuverability of the Arktika-class icebreakers was in ice: when the tanker in our convoy fell behind, it took a long time for the nuclear-powered icebreaker to turn around and come alongside to relieve the compression in the ice field. Fortunately the other ships in the convoy were icebreakers, so whenever we had to stop and wait for Yamal to make a wide 180-degree turn or a time-consuming star maneuver, there was no danger for us to get stuck as well. While there were times then raw power still triumphed over technology, in general the captains of the nuclear-powered icebreakers were positively surprised about the performance of our vessel which was the smallest and least powerful ship in the convoy. I seriously hope that when the USCG starts planning the new polar icebreaker, they’ll consider replacing the rudder(s) with azimuthing propulsion units.

    Here’s also a recent article about the development of the Russian icebreaker fleet:

    I seriously doubt they will be able to build that 110-130 MW icebreaker they keep talking about. Even with four shafts, putting that kind of power into the water with ice-strengthened propellers is going to be difficult.

      • I spent three weeks on the oblique icebreaker Baltika, sailing from Murmansk around the northern tip of Novaya Zemlya and across the Kara Sea to the Gulf of Ob to carry out the ice trials and then back to Murmansk along the same route.

      • Tups, Thanks that means you have direct knowledge of these uniquely designed ships. Great to have first hand experience.

      • Hello Tups,

        I know I might be out of date to answer you this, but I was wondering if you can provide informations about the Baltika icebreaker. I am trying to produce a hull of the ship for my dissertation project and I have been trying to do that from the patent designs. I have sent an email to Aker and Archtec but I didn’t get any responds so far.

        My question is if you have any informations about the displacement, longitudinal center of balance(LCB), longitudinal center of flotation(LCF), center of buoyancy(KB), longitudinal center of gravity(LCG), metacentric height(GM), distance from keel to the metacenter(KM) and second moment of area(I)

        I need these figures to determine the % deflection.

    • Just like the USCG, the Canadians are struggling with their polar icebreaker project, the Diefenbreak… CCGS John G. Diefenbaker, because their government decided to build the new Joint Support Ships for the Royal Canadian Navy on the same shipyard. As a result, even though they have a nearly complete design which has already been tested in an ice tank, it won’t be built until the 2020s…

      However, what if the CCG shared the design with the USCG, perhaps with only minor modifications to the internal arrangement? That would save USCG time and money from developing their own design which would probably turn out to be quite similar to the Canadian one. Then, if the first vessel of the class was built on an American shipyard and (ideally) delivered before the end of the decade, Seaspan could learn about the building process and perhaps avoid some of the issues that always arise during the construction phase.

      Click to access 09_mcgreer_0.pdf

  2. Just posting this to the latest icebreaker-related thread…

    The French are building a small polar logistics vessel and patrol icebreaker with multi-mission capability (120 days/year for resupplying French Antarctic bases, 245 days/year monitoring French EEZ in the Indian Ocean). The vessel is going to be quite small, 72 metres (236 feet) in length and 16 metres (52½ feet) wide, but it will have accommodation for 60, capacity for 1200 tons of cargo and a helideck. It will be built in France at Piriou shipyard, cost about 50 million euro ($56 million) and delivered by summer of 2017. (in English) (in French) (in French)

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