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13 Dec, 2019 17:16

Absolute unit: World’s most powerful icebreaker begins sea trials in the Baltics (VIDEO)

Built to ensure Russia’s success in the Arctic, the flagship of a new line of nuclear icebreakers took to the sea near St Petersburg. The Arktika vessel is set to become the largest and most powerful icebreaker in the world.

The sea trials will verify how the actual ship complies with its design characteristics, while also testing the reliability of its equipment and systems.

The massive icebreaker was built for Russia’s atomic agency, Rosatom, at the Baltic Shipyard in St Petersburg. The Arktika will be using diesel engines during its first tests. The ship is planned to go into service sometime next year.

It’s the first vessel in the line of Russia’s next generation Project 22220 icebreakers, with two such ships, Sibir and Ural, currently finishing construction in St Petersburg. In August, Rosatom and the wharf signed a new contract, which will see two more ships built.

The Project 22220 icebreakers have the capacity of whopping 60 megawatts. With the length of over 173 meters (568 feet) and displacement of 33,500 tons, they will be unrivaled among the ships of their class. The largest icebreakers, currently used by Russia, have the capacity of 54 megawatts and the length of no more than 160 meters.

The Arktika and its counterparts, all capable of breaking three-meter-thick ice, will be used to make way for ships transporting fossil fuels from Arctic deposits to consumers in the Asia-Pacific.

Moscow is upgrading its fleet of icebreakers as part of a nation-wide transport infrastructure overhaul. Among other things, the project aims to increase the amount of cargo shipped through the Northern Sea Route to 80 million tons by 2024 to boost the development of the Arctic and other regions in Siberia and the Far East.  


Russia is the only country in the world that operates a fleet of nuclear icebreakers. Such ships are bigger and more powerful than diesel and electric-powered icebreakers. The nuclear engines allow them to cruise independently for much longer without the need to refuel.  

Also on rt.com Russia launches ‘combat icebreaker’ Ivan Papanin, an advanced patrol boat for the Arctic

Moscow’s nuclear icebreaker fleet is now celebrating its 60th anniversary. In December 1959, the Lenin became the first nuclear icebreaker in the world. It had been clearing routes for ships along the Soviet Union’s northern coast for almost three decades, covering more than 85,000 miles, mostly through thick ice.

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