Nuclear Icebreakers Escort Convoy Through Northern Sea Route
Nuclear-powered icebreakers Arktika and Yamal have successfully taken a convoy of several low ice class vessels through the Northern Sea Route outside the navigation season. The convoy has traversed the Route from east to west in February for the first time in the history of the NSR navigation, said the press office of Atomflot, the company operating Russian nuclear icebreakers on 22 February.
According to Atomflot, the icebreakers have escorted three ships classed as Arc5 under the Russian Maritime Register of Shipping (strengthened for navigation in up to 0.8-meter-thick ice in winter). The icebreaker Arktika took the convoy from the Port of Pevek to the Yenisei area, while the rest of the mission was performed by the icebreaker Yamal.
The Arc5 class is believed to be unfit for navigation in the Arctic in winter. However, Arktika, the first icebreaker in the Project 22220 family, was there to safely lead the convoy through the NSR in challenging ice conditions. This means that new Russian nuclear icebreakers are capable of making the Northern Sea Route navigable all year round in the near future.Arctic Today is a column by PORA CEO Alexander Stotskiy analyzing major international, national and regional events and trends in the Arctic.