Last voyage for icebreaker Rossiya

"Rossiya" has sailed on the Northern Sea Route for nearly 30 years (Photo: Atomflot)

When the Russian nuclear-powered icebreaker “Rossiya” today leaves for the Gulf of Finland, it will probably be for its last voyage.


“Rossiya” leaves Murmansk today to take the trip along the coast of Norway and through the narrow Øresund between Sweden and Denmark to the Gulf of Finaland, where it will be deployed until the end of April to assist commercial shipping during the winter navigation. 

“This could be the last voyage the vessel ever makes, as it has exceeded its lifetime”, Captain Aleksandr Spirin says to Arctic-TV. “Of course it is sad. The vessel is still ‘alive’ – all technical equipment still works and maintenance and repair have been managed on schedule”. 

It is still uncertain when “Rossiya” will be laid up and what will happen to the vessel afterwards. “Rossiya” was taken into service in 1985, as the world’s fourth nuclear-powered icebreaker. In 1990 it became the first Soviet vessel to take foreign tourists to the North Pole. 

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” to the area. It was two months replaced by “Rossiya”, which continued working in the area until the end of April.