“Sevmorput” afloat again | Polarjournal
The “Sevmorput” is the last nuclear-powered cargo ship in the world. It was built from 1983 to 1988 as a special nuclear-powered cargo ship with reinforced hull and icebreaking capabilities by the Saliv shipyard in Kerch, the former Soviet Union. (Photo: D. Lobusov)

The voyage to Antarctica last fall ended abruptly for the nuclear-powered container ship “Sevmorput” due to a broken propulsion propeller. The “Sevmorput” was scheduled to arrive at the “Progress” station on the coast of Prydz Bay in early November. On board were modules for the new Vostok research station. After several weeks and several attempts to repair the damage, the voyage to Antarctica had to be cancelled. The “Sevmorput” sailed back to St. Petersburg at reduced speed.

After more than half a year in dry dock in St. Petersburg, the ice-breaking cargo ship “Sevmorput” is back on the water and arrived at its home port of Murmansk on August 12. (Photo: Rosatom)

Vyacheslav Ruksha, deputy head of Rosatom and head of the Northern Sea Route Directorate could not answer the question of Kommersant newspaper why the repair took so much time. He also said that the commission investigating the problems with the propeller had not yet completed its work. Regarding the damage, Ruksha said, “There are two versions, either something got into the propeller or there was a material weakness in the metal.” The broken propeller was new and installed in early 2020.

Atomflot had carried out and documented all necessary inspections and checks before the Antarctic voyage in St. Petersburg. If there is evidence of improper operation, Atomflot will pay for the damage. If it was a case of force majeure, the insurance company will pay for the restoration.

Vyacheslav Ruksha has been Deputy Director General of Rosatom and Director of Rosatom’s Northern Sea Route Directorate since 2018. (Photo: Rosatom)

On board were modules for the new “Vostok” station

The “Sevmorput” transported modules, construction materials and heavy loads for the Russian “Vostok” station located in the interior of the Antarctic continent. The modules were to be brought ashore at the Russian “Progress” station on the coast of Prydz Bay. Transportation inland would have been on transport sleds pulled by tractors. At that time, the project had to be postponed for at least a year.

Heiner Kubny, PolarJournal

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