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Sideways-traveling Baltika icebreaker begins sea trials


April 1, 2014

The Baltika at the Arctech Helsinki Shipyard

The Baltika at the Arctech Helsinki Shipyard

Image Gallery (3 images)

Last August we heard about the Baltika, a rather clever icebreaker that can temporarily increase its frontal area by traveling sideways into the ice. At the time, it was still under construction, and the only images available were renderings. Now, however, it's complete and has begun sea trials.

Built by Finland’s Arctech Helsinki Shipyard for the Russian Federal Agency of Sea and River Transport, the asymmetric-hulled Baltika travels through open water like a regular ship, but pivots to proceed forward at an angle of up to 30 degrees when reaching the ice. It's able to do so thanks to three propulsors on its underside, each one of which can rotate 360 degrees.

This little trick allows it to clear a 50-meter (164-foot)-wide channel, even though it only has a breadth of 20.5 m (67 ft), and a length of 76 m (249 ft). It can break through ice up to 0.6 meter (2 ft) thick when moving sideways, or 1 meter (3.3 ft) when going bow- or stern-first.

It headed out from the Arctech Helsinki Shipyard on March 6th for its first sea trial, which lasted a couple of days. Plans call for it to be delivered to the client later this spring (Northern Hemisphere), after which it will be used for icebreaking, rescue and oil-spill combating operations in the Gulf of Finland.

Source: Arctech

About the Author
Ben Coxworth An experienced freelance writer, videographer and television producer, Ben's interest in all forms of innovation is particularly fanatical when it comes to human-powered transportation, film-making gear, environmentally-friendly technologies and anything that's designed to go underwater. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he spends a lot of time going over the handlebars of his mountain bike, hanging out in off-leash parks, and wishing the Pacific Ocean wasn't so far away. All articles by Ben Coxworth
1 Comment

Great idea! Since it has 3 "propulsors" does it really save fuel? Not clear on the advantage here over a larger and broader boat. Easier to dock? Hope it doesn't get crushed.

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