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Russia sends nuclear icebreaker to Gulf of Finland

"Rossiya" is the oldest nuclear-powered icebreaker still in operation. (Photo: Rosatomflot)

The nuclear-powered icebreaker “Rossiya” will be deployed in the Gulf of Finland to assist commercial shipping during the winter navigation.

Location

Russia is also considering the possibility to charter foreign icebreakers to work in the area, where the ice situation often creates huge challenges for traffic in and out of the port of St. Petersburg. 

According to St. Petersburg Harbor Master Peter Parinov a time-charter agreement for “Rossiya” has been signed by port operator Rosmorport and Atomflot, who owns and operates Russia’s fleet of nuclear-powered icebreakers. “Rossiya” is expected to arrive in the Gulf of Finland on January 20-22 2013, Port News reports. 

The first time a nuclear-powered icebreaker was sent to the Gulf of Finland to assist the local diesel icebreakers in keeping the waters open for traffic was in February 2011.  Extremely difficult ice conditions had 58 vessels waiting for assistance when it was decided to send in “Vaygach” from Murmansk. 

In January 2012 Russia sent its largest nuclear-powered icebreaker “50 Years of Victory” outside the coast of Norway and through the narrow Øresund between Sweden and Denmark. In March the vessel was replaced by “Rossiya”, which continued working in the area until the end of April.

Rosmorport is considering an opportunity to involve foreign icebreakers for operations this winter season in the Gulf of Finland, Peter Parinov said at a ice operations planning meeting in St. Petersburg. The question will be discussed at a Russian-Finnish meeting of transportation ministers on November 27 , Port News writes.