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One-of-a-Kind Icebreaker Enters Service

Photo courtesy of Arctech Helsinki Shipyard.
The world’s first oblique icebreaker vessel, Baltika, leaves port in March to begin sea trials in the Gulf of Finland.

Nearly 2 decades after it was dreamed up as a way to do the job of two icebreakers with just a single hull, the oblique icebreaker, has been launched into service in the Gulf of Finland. The Baltika, a first-of-its-kind vessel, completed sea trials in March and despite it launching too late in the season to work in heavy ice conditions, it will nonetheless provide a basis of understanding for the future development of such vessels.

The idea for an oblique icebreaker was born in 1996 from an internal innovation contest at the Helsinki-based engineering firm Aker Arctic, a company that has designed 60% of the icebreakers operating today.  Contest entries were trying to solve the problem of how to best escort Aframax crude tankers through the Gulf of Finland in the Baltic Sea during ice season from Russian export terminals in Primorsk. The tankers needing ice escort from Primorsk are 42 m to 44 m in breadth, but the typical beam of a conventional ice breaker is between 20 m and 26 m. “That meant you had to have at least two icebreakers to assist one vessel,” said Arto Uuskallio, sales and marketing manager of Aker Arctic.

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One-of-a-Kind Icebreaker Enters Service

Trent Jacobs, JPT Senior Technology Writer

01 May 2014

Volume: 66 | Issue: 5

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