Russia's new icebreaker reaches North Pole for ice trials
RUSSIA's future flagship icebreaker, the 33,500-tons displacement Arktika, reached the North Pole during its first sea ice tests, reports Norway's High North News
20 October 2020 - 19:00
The Arktika is the world's most powerful icebreaker and is the first of five new nuclear ships of this type. The project is referred to as project 22220 and is the first new nuclear icebreakers constructed by Russia in 30 years. It has a length of 173 metres, a width of 34 metres.
The vessel departed from St Petersburg on September 22 as part of a test on the ship's capabilities. Baltic Shipyard representatives and Russia's operator of nuclear icebreakers, Rosatomflot, were on board during the voyage.
The ship passed over the North Pole during the evening of October 3 confronting medium ice conditions.
The other four vessels will follow in the next five years. The two vessels, Sibir and Ural have already been launched and awaiting their trials. The fourth is currently under constriction, while the fifth is on order.
Rosatomflot is expected to formally take possession and operate it along the Northern Sea Route this winter.
The previous Arktika icebreaker was in service between 1975 and 2008 and was the first surface vessel to reach the North Pole in August 1977. Construction on Arktika began in November 2013 in the Baltic Shipyard, and construction on Sibir and Ural followed in May 2015 and July 2016.
The expansion and renewal of Russia's icebreaker fleet are of national importance to Russia and has enjoyed strong support from President Vladimir Putin.
The project 22220 is aimed to keep the waters of Russia's Northern Sea Route open for shipping traffic nearly year-round by being capable of breaking through three metres of ice continuously and breaking even thicker ice through ramming.
The new ships will escort natural gas and oil tankers through the ice along to the Asia-Pacific region.
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