FSB builds new ice-breaking coast guard vessel

Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) is building a icebreaking ship to serve in Arctic waters from a base in Murmansk.

The ship of the Purga class is to be built at the Almaz shipyard in St. Petersburg. It will have a price tag of almost 1,8 billion rubles (€26 million), Interfax reports.

A Purga-class ice-breaking coast guard vessel. (Photo courtesy Almaz.spb.ru via The Barents Observer)
A Purga-class ice-breaking coast guard vessel. (Photo courtesy Almaz.spb.ru via The Barents Observer)

The Purga-class ships are 71 meters (233 feet) long and 10 meters (32 feet) wide. The has a maximum speed of 24 knots and can operate autonomously for up to 20 days. Another two Purga-class ships are under construction, both of them to serve in the Russian far east.

The FSB is also in the process of getting a renewed fleet of smaller, fast-going patrol boats, as well as a new vessel of the long-time proven Svetlyak-class patrol vessel. In addition, it will receive at least two types of ice-going vessels designed for operations in the Arctic. The first of the Okean-class ice-going patrol vessels, “Polyarnaya Zvezda” this year underwent sea trials in the Baltic Sea. Vessels of this class can break up to 80-centimeter-thick (about 2.5-foot-thick) ice. The two next vessels of this class are expected to be ready for service in 2019.

The new vessels are built as the FSB is strengthening its role in Russian Arctic waters. A bill signed this summer gives the security service the full prerogatives for law enforcement along the Northern Sea Route.

With the powers formalized, the FSB will autonomously be able to take action against ships operating along the Russian Arctic coast.

The FSB includes both the coast guard and border guard services.