Icebreakers getting ready for new season

The Russian nuclear icebreaker "Yamal" in dock in Murmansk this week. Photo: Thomas Nilsen

Russia’s fleet of nuclear-powered icebreakers is getting ready for a new season on the Northern Sea Route. This year cargo is expected to exceed one million tons.


In course of the five months long sailing period of 2011, Atomflot’s nuclear-powered icebreaker escorted 34 vessels in transit along the Northern Sea Route. The total cargo was 820 000 tons. In comparison, in 2010 there were only four transits with a total cargo of 111 000 tons. 

Atomflot has a fleet of four icebreakers with two reactors – “Rossiya”, “Sovetskiy Soyuz”, “Yamal” and “50 Years of Victory” and two icebreakers with one reactor – “Taimyr” and “Vaigach”. The vessels are now preparing for this year’s sailing season.

The icebreaker “Yamal” soon leaves dock after repairs and will be ready for this season’s first transit along the Northern Sea Route (NSR) around May 20. It will then escort the two icebreakers “Top Viking” and “Vidar Viking” to the East, where they will be operating outside Sakhalin and in the Beaufort Sea, RIA Novosti reports, citing Deputy General Director of Atomflot Andrey Smirnov.

Repairs on “Taimyr” are finished and the icebreaker is now sailing to the White Sea, where it will be in service until May 5. 

“50 years of Victory” is arriving Murmansk this week, where it will be taken into dock for preparations for this summer’s tourist season to the North Pole. The icebreaker has been working in the Gulf of Finland and later in the White Sea this winter.

 “Rossiya” is also preparing for its first mission this season, escorting the vessel “Kapitan Danilkin” to the Bolshevik Island with cargo for gold diggers.

 “Vaigach” is currently escorting ships on the Enisey river and in the Bay of Enisey, and will continue to do so until the ice breaks up in the middle of May.