“According to information published by the Chinese Ministry of Defense on January 29, 2021, the Chinese Navy sent the Type 272 icebreaker ship Haibing (Sea Ice, Hull 722) to the Bohai Sea and the northern waters of the Yellow Sea to perform the 84th ice survey mission on January 25, 2021.”
The accompanying photo (above) is the first I have seen of this ship. An older Global Security post has a description of the vessel and its activities.
Reportedly its specifications include:
- Displacement: 4,800 tons (probably a light displacement)
- Length: 103.1 meters (338′)
- Beam: 18.4 meters (60.4′)
- Speed: 18 knots
It appears to be smaller, longer, and narrower than the Wind Class icebreakers the US built in the 1940s.
- Displacement: 6,500 tons full load
- Length: 269′ (82m)
- Beam: 63.5′ (19.5m)
Length to beam ratio is narrow for an icebreaker at 5.6:1. There is a finer taper on the bow and stern than you might expect.
Length to beam ratio for US icebreaker designs are:
- Wind Class: 4.24
- Glacier: 4.18
- Polar Star: 4.77
- Polar Security Cutter: 5.23
Only the PSC, designed for long open ocean voyages, comes close.
This Chinese icebreaker entered service just over five years ago. It is one of a class of two, is unarmed, and it appears its operations have been confined to the Yellow Sea and the Bohai Sea, a Westward extension of the Yellow Sea. It almost certainly has less than 20,000 HP so would be considered a light icebreaker by the USCG.