Icebreakers


Press release from ST Engineering today:

Russia need more icebreakers:

One of two optic cable between mainland Norway and Svalbard failed:

But satellites will soon ensure that the people in Longyearbyen will be able to see the latest news and don’t miss their favourit sitcoms:

It’s probably worth mentioning that Project 21180M is comparable to USCGC Mackinaw in terms of size and icebreaking capability; it’s not a particularly large and powerful icebreaker.

Sibir will be passing along the Norwegian coast soon:

She left St. Petersburg this morning:

Norilsk Nickel has ordered an LNG-powered icebreaker from Helsinki Shipyard:

Looking at the Arctic sea ice thickness charts, it’s pretty obvious that if approaching from the eastern hemisphere, ice is quite thin all the way up to the North Pole. However, just “across the pole” there’s quite thick and persistent old ice. If you’re unlucky (as you apparently were on Oden), that ice pack is pushed across the pole, blocking access to all but the most capable icebreakers and that one French cruise ship that visited in September when the ice conditions appeared to be, at least judging from the photographs, somewhat easier.

Anyway, I admit that I was perhaps a bit optimistic with my statement. I’m inclined to agree that no icebreaking ship should try to reach the North Pole if it needs to operate at the limit of its icebreaking capability. Even if the ice thickness is not as excessive as in your case or it’s in general rotten summer ice, it won’t take much compression within the drifting ice pack to bog down a ship that’s already close to its limits. We all remember how difficult it was for Polarstern to reach Svalbard at the end of the MOSAiC drift or Lance to extract itself from the ice north of Svalbard after picking up those two adventurers.

Looking at the Arctic sea ice thickness charts, it’s pretty obvious that if approaching from the eastern hemisphere, ice is quite thin all the way up to the North Pole. However, just “across the pole” there’s quite thick and persistent old ice. If you’re unlucky (as you apparently were on Oden ), that ice pack is pushed across the pole, blocking access to all but the most capable icebreakers (and that one French cruise ship that visited in September when the ice conditions appeared to be, at least judging from the photographs, somewhat easier).

I have to recant my previous statement about the power usage. I am not qualified to make such a statement and it was simply incorrect. I went back and looked at a picture showing that we actually had around 3 knots average speed to the Pole. We did pass through some thick ice on our way up which is probably why my memory was playing tricks on me.

Ironically the Russian Icebreaker 50 Let Pobedy reached the pole a couple of days after us. According to their documentary on youtube they were doing almost 12 knots through the ice which is an amazing feat and shows that Jeremy Clarksons old saying is true. “More horsepower is the solution to all problems”

No problem. I recall reading about Oden encountering some fairly thick ice along the way last summer, even if it was not exactly at the North Pole. Since the ice conditions in the Central Arctic Ocean are fairly dynamic, it’s a matter of days whether you’ll find impenetrable multi-year ice or a large open lead at the symbolic point where all longitudes converge.

You’re absolutely right about the Russian nuclear-powered icebreakers. Even with somewhat outdated hull forms, they can compensate so much with more power and not having to worry about fuel consumption. The analogue to Clarkson’s mentality is right on - instead of precision tools, they are just big hammers. However, my heart lies with the smaller, more sophisticated vessels. While Oden may not be my favorite in professional sense, it’s ability to force its way into the most challenging places with less power than others is still pretty amazing.

Russia’s newline Sibir nuclear icebreaker sets sail for Arctic - Bellona.org.

Sibir is now off Lofoten. She sailed past Ålesund yesterday at a “respectful” distance due to to hurricane force wind at the time.

The Sibir has arrived in Murmansk:

China is make an argument for admittance to the Arctic Council:

For vehicle, read vessel

I didn’t know that Russia has one of the world’s largest semi-submersible heavy transport vessels…

Also, I wouldn’t call Xue Long an icebreaker. It’s an ice-strengthened cargo ship rebuilt as a research vessel.

Surprise, surprise:

So much for being highly concerned about Polar security. If these ships were being built for commercial shipping they would have been designed and built already.
The US government is a bureaucratic cluster…show.


The AZORESBORG & SISU navigating the Gulf of Bothnia
Photo: Roy Brugman ©

The ice strengthened Research Vessel RRS Sir David Attenborough completes ice trials during maiden voyage to Antarctica:

She finally made it to the Arctic: