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Sibir icebreaker

Sibir icebreaker cruise ship
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Cruise line
Russia (Icebreakers)

Sibir icebreaker Review and Specifications

Specifications of Sibir icebreaker

Year built2019 new ship
Builder(Baltiysky Zavod) Baltic Shipyard (St Petersburg, Russia)
ClassRussian nuclear icebreaker (LC-60YA-class, Project 22220)
OwnerRussian Federation
OperatorAtomflot (Rosmorport)
Speed21 kn / 39 kph / 24 mph
Length (LOA)173 m / 568 ft
Beam (width)34 m / 112 ft
Gross Tonnage33540 gt
Passengers64 - 128
Crew75
Decks8
Cabins64
Decks with cabins5
Sister-shipsArktika (2017), Ural (2020)

Review of Sibir icebreaker

NS Sibir ("атомный ледокол Сибирь") is a new design (and the world's largest) Russian nuclear icebreaker. "NS" stands for "nuclear ship". The vessel is state-owned (by the Russian Federation) and operated by Atomflot. The Atomflot company provides all Russian nuclear icebreakers with maintenance and technological services. The company also serves the country's special vessels fleet.

NS Sibir icebreaker ship

One of the largest Russian icebreaker ships, Sibir is one of the Project 22220 ships (often called LK-60Ya). This is a special class of 3 nuclear-powered icebreakers designed and constructed in Russia. Being the second in the series, NS Sibir was laid down in May 2015 and expected to enter service in 2019. After its completion, this ship is expected to become the world's second biggest and most powerful icebreaker, surpassing the "nuclear cruise ship" 50 Let Pobedy (50 Years of Victory) by length (14 m longer) and width (4 m wider).

Negotiations between the Russian companies Atomflot and USC (United Shipbuilding Corporation) have been lengthy. In early 2013, the federal government allocated RUB (rubles) 86,1 billion (or ~USD 1,3 billion) for the project. Rosatom (also state-owned corporation) insisted that the two ice-breaking ships should have a total building cost of RUB 77,5 billion (~USD 1,2 billion). However, the offer was declined by the shipbuilder Baltic Shipyard (aka Baltiisky Yard). A second tender with the adjusted shipbuilding price of RUB 84,4 billion was announced in Dec 2013.

The Sibir icebreaker's itinerary program offers North Pole expedition cruises and also longer itineraries on the Northern Sea Route along Russia's Arctic coastline. Russia's nuclear fleet of ice-breaking vessels is used exclusively in the Arctic Ocean for escorting merchant ships and assisting research stations floating in the ice-covered waters north of Siberia. These ships are also used for scientific and Arctic cruise expeditions. The Russian nuclear ice-breakers must sail in ice-cold waters to effectively cool their reactors.

NS Sibir icebreaker vessel details

Project 22220 class Russian nuclear ships have minimal draught is 8,6 m / 28 ft and max draught is 10,5 m / 34 ft. The dual-draft design makes these ships capable of operating in both the Arctic Ocean and in ice-covered rivers.

new Arktika-class Russian icebreaker ship design (Project 22220)

Project 22220 icebreakers are equipped with two RITM-200 nuclear reactors with a total of 350 MW thermal capacity. Propulsion power output is 1100 MW. The previous design was for 60 MW output (the reason why this class is alternatively known as "LK-60"). RITM-200 model is a pressurized water reactor developed by OKBM Afrikantov (Russian mechanical engineering company) and designed to produce power output of 55 MWe (megawatt electrical). RITM-200 uses up to 20% enriched uranium-235. The reactor is refueled every 7 years and has planned lifespan of 40 years. RITM-200 is also used to power Russia's newest and most powerful aircraft carriers (Project 23000E). Sibir ship's maximum ice-breaking capability is 2,8 m / 9, ft at cruising speed between 1,5 - 2 knots (2,8 kph / 1,7 mph).

In May 2015 was reported that Russia made a decision on the development of the design for its newest nuclear-powered icebreakers to be able to move across Arctic ice of thickness up to 4.5 m / 15 ft. The icebreaker features propulsion power of 110 MW. Russia's new icebreakers are nearly twice as powerful as Project 22220 nuclear ships.

new Arktika-class Russian icebreaker ship design (Project 22220)

The steel for the Sibir ship (thick plate "Mill 5000") was supplied by the MMK company (Magnitogorsk Iron and Steel Works). The company one of the world's largest producers and supplies with steel over 50% of Russia’s shipbuilding. Steel plate "Mill 5000" is used for manufacturing the Russia's naval fleet, as well for building tankers and ice-class vessels. The steel is certified internationally, including by Lloyd’s Register and Bureau Veritas.

Besides NS Sibir, the list of other Russian nuclear icebreaker ships includes 50 Let Pobedy (2007), Arktika (2017, sistership), Rossiya (1985), Sovetskiy Soyuz (1990), Taymyr (1989), Ural (2020, sistership), Vaygach (1990), Yamal (1992), Sevmorput (1988, cargo ship). The photo below is of the old NS Sibir ship.

old NS Sibir icebreaker ship

The Sibir ship's namesake was decommissioned in 1992. Built in 1977, the old NS Sibir (IMO 7604491) belonged to the Arktika-class nuclear ships - the world's largest and most powerful ever built. The ship was also state-owned but operated by MSCO (Murmansk Shipping Company, later transferred to Atomflot).

old NS Sibir icebreaker ship

The old Sibir icebreaker was one of all 10 Russian nuclear ships. It was also among the 6 vessels of this class - together with the old Arktika (1975-2008), Rossiya (1982), Sovetskiy Soyuz (1990), Yamal (1992) and 50 Let Pobedy (2007).

A curious fact is, that the old NS Sibir was Russia's only nuclear icebreaker with a superstructure not painted in red. Being retired in 1992, the ship was last seen in 2012 moored in Murmansk (northwest Russia) and awaiting its planned scrapping.

  • The vessel has 1 dining room, Sauna, Library, Auditorium, Passenger Lounge, Volleyball Court, Gymnasium, 1 swimming pool (indoor, heated), Infirmary, 1 elevator, 1 helipad (helicopter deck) with a Mi-2 transport helicopter.
  • DWT Deadweight tonnage: 9000 tons
  • Displacement tonnage: 33540 tons
  • Clear path width: 50 m (164 ft)
  • Draught: 8,6 m (28 ft min) 10,5 m (35 ft max)
  • Icebreaking capacity: 4,5 m (15 ft)
  • Ice-class 9 (highest)
  • Range: unlimited
  • Power: 2x RITM-200 nuclear reactors (175 MW power output each)
  • Propulsion: 3 shafts (combined power output 110 MW)

Note: In the case of poor AIS coverage, tracking the vessel's current location is impossible. You can see the CruiseMapper's list of all icebreakers and ice-breaking research ships in the "itinerary" section of our Icebreakers hub. All states and their fleets are listed there.

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Sibir icebreaker Wiki

As Project 22220 vessels are able to navigate both deep (sea) and shallow waters (river estuaries), ROSATOM received two types of ice-breaking ships for the price of one, which means saving of hundreds of millions of USD. NS Sibir and its sisterships are of utmost importance for Russia's strategy to open the Northern Sea Route (NSR) for commercial and military operations the whole year-round. By 2024, the NSR is planned to serve vessels carrying 80+ million tonnes of shipments. The Russian Government gave ROSATOM the lead in route's 6-year infrastructure development project, the total funding for which is RUB 734,9 billion (USD 11,37 billion / EUR 10,17). Of those, RUB 274 billion were provided by the Government, while the remaining RUB 460+ billion were provided by investors, the largest among which are ROSATOM, ROSNEFT and NOVATEK.

  • ROSATOM (2007-founded) is a state-owned nuclear energy corporation headquartered in Moscow. It comprises over 360 companies and organizations, specializing in scientific research and nuclear weapons, as well as world's only fleet of nuclear icebreakers. In 2017, ROSATOM produced 202,868 billion kWh of electricity annually or 18,9% of Russia’s total electricity. Corporation's construction projects include 33 nuclear powerplant units installed and maintained in 12 countries. It also manufactures related equipment, produces isotopes for nuclear medicine, conducts researches and studies, produces supercomputers and software, develops renewable energy technologies (including wind turbines). ROSATOM covers 17,7% of world's nuclear fuel market and ~35% market share of the global Uranium enrichment services.
  • ROSNEFT (1993-founded) is a state-controlled gas and oil corporation headquartered in Moscow. The company specializes in research, extraction, production, refinement and transportation of natural gas and petroleum. ROSNEFT is ranked Russia's 3rd largest company and country's 2nd-largest state-controlled (after Gazprom) and world's 24th largest oil company in terms of revenue (FY2017 - USD 103 billion / EUR 92,09 billion).
  • NOVATEK (1994-founded) is Russia's 2nd-largest natural gas producer and world's 7th-largest stock-listed company by annual natural gas production volume. The company is listed and traded on London (LSE) and Moscow (MCX) stock exchanges. Major shareholders are Leonid Michelson (CEO, ~28%), Volga Group (23%), Total SA (French multinational, ~16%) and Gazprom (9,4%).

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