Work on the world’s first “skew-going” icebreaker began in early July in Russia, according to Arctech Helsinki Shipyard in Finland.
The unique vessel will have three Z-drives that will push the asymmetric hull forward, backward and sideways. The sideways, “skewed” motion will create a 50-meter-wide canal in 0.6-meter-thick ice while escorting other vessels.
The new 250’x67′ icebreaker for the Russian Ministry of Transport will be used for oil-spill response and salvage operations. It will be powered by three diesel-electric power plants developing a total of about 12,000 hp. “There is a demand for innovative icebreaking vessels in the Russian market,” Arctech Managing Director Esko Mustamäki said in a statement. “The rescue vessel represents a totally new technology, which enables its versatile use in the Gulf of Finland.”
Initial construction will be at JSC Yantar Shipyard in Kaliningrad, Russia. Next spring, the hull will be towed to Arctech Helsinki Shipyard for final outfitting. Delivery is expected in December 2013.
Russia will also begin construction on the world’s largest icebreaker next year. The nuclear-powered 558’x112′ ship will be delivered in 2015 and cost an estimated $1.1 billion. It will be capable of breaking Arctic ice thicker than four meters year round. — B. Buls