Already the world’s largest, a Russian icebreaker fleet is set to expand

Rosmorport plans to add nine more ice breaking vessels to its existing fleet of 36 by 2024.

By Atle Staalesen, The Independent Barents Observer - September 19, 2019
The Rosmorport icebreaker Kapitan Zarubin is seen near Saint Petersburg, Russia in a 2011 photo. (Yaleks CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons)

Rosmorport, the enterprise responsible for Russian seaport and maritime infrastructure development today has a fleet of 36 icebreaking vessels. That’s the biggest fleet of its kind in the world, according to the company. And more is to come.

According to company Deputy General Director Vasily Strugov, another nine vessels will be included in the fleet by year 2024.

Among them is a vessel of the project 21900M2. A construction contract on the ship will be signed in the course of this year. The 18 MW ship will be a modification of the class of icebreakers today actively applied by the company.

Rosmorport has a fleet of five icebreakers of projects 21900 and 21900M. The newest of the vessels, the Novorossiisk was included in the fleet in November 2016.

According to Rosmorport, the Viktor Chernomyrdin will also soon be ready for sailing. The 25 MW vessel will be the most powerful non-nuclear icebreaker in the world. The ship is due to undergo first test sailing in late September this year and ice-testing in the Arctic will take place in spring 2020, Vasily Strugov says.

“This is the most powerful icebreaker that we will have in our fleet and the most powerful in the whole world,” he said.

Strugov spoke in a conference on icebreaking vessels earlier this month.

The Viktor Chernomyrdin is more than four years behind its original time schedule outlined in the construction contract signed in 2011.

The price for the vessel is believed to be more than 50 percent higher than the original budget. The ship was supposed to cost 7.95 billion rubles (€113 million), but sources in the shipbuilding industry now maintain that the price ultimately will be more than 12 billion (€170)

The Viktor Chernomyrdin is Russia’s first vessel of project 22600 (LK-25).

It is not clear whether more LK-25 icebreakers will be built. But Rosmorport will in any case significantly boost its icebreaking capacities. By 2024, another nine new icebreakers will be built, the company says.