Arctic tests for Russia’s new icebreakers

"Vladivostok" was delivered in December 2015. Photo: Vyborg Shipyard
“Vladivostok” was delivered in October 2015. Photo: Vyborg Shipyard
Russia’s new “Vladivostok” and “Murmansk” icebreakers (project 21900M) are on the way to Murmansk for trials in Arctic environment. The two diesel-electric icebreakers, built for Rosmorport company at the Vyborg Shipyard, left the Gulf of Finland earlier this week.

In the western sector of Russia’s Arctic waters they will be tested on such indicators as attainable speed in ice and operation of engines and mechanisms.

“We need heavy ice; we will look for ice ridges and thick fast ice. Performance data of the vessels can only be tested in extreme conditions,” Chief Executive of the Shipyard Alexander Solovyov told TASS.

A third icebreaker of this class – “Novorossiysk” – is under construction and should be ready to be handed over to Rosmorport in 2016.

The vessels will mainly be used in the Gulf of Finland and in the White Sea, but also on the Northern Sea Route.

Icebreakers of the 21900 series are capable of breaking 1.5 meters thick ice.

The main tasks of the vessels are icebreaking and assisting of heavy-tonnage vessels in ice, towing of vessels and other floating structures both in ice and in open water. The vessels will also be used for fire fighting on floating objects and other facilities, assisting vessels in distress in ice and open water and cargo transportation.

Russia has about 14 new icebreakers of different types under construction. From shallow-draft diesel-electric vessels to the world’s largest and most powerful nuclear-powered icebreaker, “Arktika.

Related stories from around the North:

Asia:  Full steam ahead for Asian icebreakers in the Arctic this summer, Blog by Mia Bennett

Canada:  Ship trouble in the Arctic on the rise: report, Alaska Public Radio Network

China: China’s silk road plans could challenge Northern Sea Route, Blog by Mia Bennett

Finland: New Finland icebreaker can operate sideways with asymmetrical hull, Yle News

Norway:  Arctic shipping – The myths, the realities & the challenges ahead, Eye on the Arctic

Sweden:  Sweden wants lower emissions for new icebreakers, Radio Sweden

Russia:  New vessels for Russia’s Coast Guard, Barents Observer

United States: No ‘national imperative’ for icebreakers: U.S. official, Alaska Dispatch News

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