On February 9, the lead universal nuclear-powered icebreaker Arktika of Atomflot FSUE began escorting vessels Engineer Trubin and Polar King from the port of Pevek. For the first time ever, the atomic ship of project 22220 will take part in the east-west escort of a convoy. Traditionally, in this sector of the Arctic the piloting of ships was over in November. The nuclear-powered icebreaker of Rosatomflot will be assisted by diesel-electric icebreaker Kapitan Dranitsyn.
"The convoy piloting will end near the western edge of the Kara Sea ice," said Atomflot's First Deputy Director General Leonid Irlitsa. – From the east, Arktika will take the ships through the whole water area of the Northern Sea Route. During the voyage, the captain of the icebreaker will get recommendations from Atomflot's Headquarters of Marine Operations. This unique experience of ours will be studied by shipmasters and will become the basis for further planning during the transition to the regular year-round escorting in the waters of the Northern Sea Route".
Nuclear-powered icebreaker Arktika works under a contract to escort convoys of ships with cargoes for a large-scale investment project for the development of the Baim ore zone in the Chukotka advanced development zone.
"Project 22220 nuclear-powered icebreakers secure Russian leadership in the Arctic. The implementation of the Baim copper project will also contribute to the further development of the Northern Sea Route; the development of the deposit will increase the cargo flow by 2 million tons. As part of the project, a year-round port, road, and new power lines will be built in Chukotka. From 2027, a mining and processing plant with a total capacity of 70 million tons of ore per year will be launched. The construction of the Baimsky MPP is included in the socio-economic development strategy for the Far East," said Georgy Fotin, Executive Director of GDK Baimskaya LLC.
Severe ice conditions are currently observed in the eastern region of the Northern Sea Route. Ice thickness reaches two meters in some places.
"Universal nuclear-powered icebreakers are superior to atomic ships of previous projects," said Vassily Gubkin, captain of Arktika. – Power, maneuverability, icebreaking capability, and the ability to change the draft are the key advantages. The captains of the vessels we had escorted confirm that it is much more convenient to follow the universal nuclear-powered icebreaker. The channel behind the icebreaker is wide, straight, and cleaner, which means it is safer to sail behind the atomic ship in ice conditions."
It is planned that by the end of February Arktika will complete the convoy escort.

Source: Press service of Atomflot