Pacific Maritime Magazine - Marine Business for the Operations Sector

By Jim Shaw 

Russia's New Icebreakers


The hull of the Russian icebreaker Arktika was floated out at St Petersburg this past summer, with its nuclear reactors to be installed later this year, but there is still some question as to when it will enter service. Photo courtesy of Baltic Shipyard.

Russia's Baltic Shipyard at St Petersburg has floated out the hull of the icebreaker Arktika (see Pacific Maritime Magazine, Feb. 2016) but funding for the highly expensive ship, which will displace 33,540 tons, has slowed and it may not be delivered until 2019. Commissioning would then take place the following year.

The vessel's two RITM-200 reactors have been completed and are being installed this year prior to the setting of the accommodation block. With an output of 80,000 HP (60 megawatts) they will give Arktika the capacity to break through floating ice almost ten feet (3 meters) thick using a triple shaft arrangement and ice-strengthened propellers.

As part of Russia's Project 22220, the 173.3-meter by 34-meter vessel will have a variable draft of 8.55/10.5 meters to allow open ocean use as well as operation in the shallow mouths of Russia's arctic rivers. Two sister icebreakers, Siberia and Urals, have been scheduled for delivery in the winters of 2019 and 2020 but, like Arktika, their exact turn-over date will depend upon funding as well as projections for commercial use of the North Sea Route, which has seen a drop-off in commercial traffic over the past two years.

With six new military bases opened in the Arctic, Russia's Admiralty Shipyards at St. Petersburg has launched the new diesel-electric icebreaker Ilya Muromets for Russia's Defense Ministry. Photo courtesy of Admiralty Shipyards.

Also scheduled for delivery around the end of this year is the naval icebreaker Ilya Muromets, a diesel-electric vessel being completed by the Admiralty Shipyards in St. Petersburg for Russia's Defense Ministry. Compared to the 33,540-ton displacement of Arktika, which is expected to have a maximum speed of 22 knots and an endurance of six months with 75 crew on board, the 85-meter by 20-meter naval icebreaker will displace 6,000 tons and carry a crew of 32. One of its main tasks will be to supply, or aid in the supply, of six new military bases that Russia has opened up in the arctic.

Three sister ships to Ilya Muromets may eventually be built, depending upon funding.

Still on the drawing board is Russia's nuclear-powered LK-110Ya Lider class icebreaker, a vessel that would have 110 megawatts of power and a hull design that would allow it to break ice up to 14.8 feet (4.5 meters) thick, or 6.6 feet (2 meters) thick at a speed of 14 knots while creating a path 150 feet wide for large petroleum tankers and LNG carriers. This ship, to measure 209.6-meters by 47.7-meters with a displacement of nearly 70,000 tons, will be the world's largest – if and when built.


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