New icebreaker for the Baltic Sea | Polarjournal
The icebreaker “Viktor Chernomyrdin”, which was built at the Admiralty shipyard in St. Petersburg, made its first test runs in the Gulf of Finland. (Photo: USC) (Photo: USC)

The world’s most powerful diesel-electric icebreaker “Viktor Tshernomyrdin” is to be commissioned by November 1, 2020 at the latest. The ship, although built for the Northeast Passage, is to be deployed in the Baltic Sea, the newspaper Kommersantreported. The new icebreaker is named after former Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin.

The home port of the icebreaker “Viktor Chernomyrdin” will be St. Petersburg. The ship, registered under IMO number 9658630, has a maximum power of 32,000 HP. (Photo: USC) The ship, registered under IMO number 9658630, has a maximum power of 32,000 HP. (Photo: USC)

The icebreaker “Viktor Chernomyrdin” is the only ship built as part of the project 22600 (LK-25). In 2011, the contract for the construction was awarded to United Shipbuilding Corporation with a budget of 7.94 billion rubles (92 million euros). The ship was originally scheduled to be delivered at the end of 2015, but for various reasons the dates were repeatedly postponed. When the United Shipbuilding Coperation shipyard was ready to hand over the icebreaker at the end of 2019, it turned out that changes had been made to the state program and the date had to be postponed again. According to informed sources, by the end of 2019, the cost of building the ship had run at almost 12 billion rubles (139 million).

The diesel-electric icebreaker “Viktor Chernomyrdin” was sent for ice tests in the Gulf of Finland in spring 2020, leaving the port of St. Petersburg. (Photo: USC) (Photo: USC)

Originally, the icebreaker “Viktor Chernomyrdin” was built for operation on the Northeast Passage. During construction, however, ideas about icebreakers in the Arctic changed. The change of plan could be related to Rosatom’s expansion of the Northern Sea Route, the Kommersantnewspaper argues. Rosatom is responsible for infrastructure in the North Sea route and will continue to expand capacity, but relies on nuclear-powered ships. The diesel-powered icebreaker “Viktor Chernomyrdin” may not fit into the plans.

“Viktor Chernomyrdin” goes to Rosmorport

When commissioned, the icebreaker will become part of Rosmorport and its rapidly growing fleet of ships. According to Rosmorport, they now have 37 ice-breaking ships in their fleet. In total, Rosmorport is expected to build nine icebreakers worth 52.5 billion rubles as part of a comprehensive plan of major infrastructure for fleet renewal by 2024.

The new icebreaker is registered under the ice class “Russian Maritime Register of Shipping – Icebreaker8”.

Heiner Kubny, PolarJournal

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