Icebreakers Assistance

Referring to Rules of navigation in the water area of the Northern Sea Route 2013 and information from official NSR Administration webpage

Information about organizations which provide icebreaker assistance:

Federal state unitary enterprise «Atomflot»

Address: 183017, Russia, Murmansk-17


Official Site:

Tel: +7 (8152) 553-355

Fax: +7 (8152) 553-300

Federal state unitary enterprise «Rosmorport»

Address: 127055, Russia, Moscow, Suschevskaya st. 19, b.7


Official Site:

Tel: +7 (495) 626-14-25

Fax: +7 (495) 626-12-39

Joint Stock Company «Far Eastern Shipping Company»

Address: 109028, Russia, Moscow, Serebryanicheskaya emb., 29

Vladivostok branch: 690091, Russia, Vladivostok, Aleutskaya st., 15


Official Site:

Tel: +7 (423) 252-10-10, +7 (423) 252-10-23

Fax: +7 (495) 625-70-16

Joint Stock Company «Murmansk Shipping Company»

Address: 183038, Russia, Murmansk, Kominterna st., 15


Official site:

Tel: +7 (8152) 481-048

Fax: +7 (8152) 481-148

Murmansk Transport Branch «OJSC «MMC «NORILSK NICKEL»

Address: 183038, Russia, Murmansk, Portovyi proezd, 29


Official Site:

Tel: +7(8152) 558-050

Fax: +7(8152) 558-100

Joint Stock Company «LUKOIL Oil Company»

Address: 101000, Russia, Moscow, Sretensky Boulevard, 11


Official Site:

Tel: +7 (495) 627-44-44

Fax: +7 (495) 625-70-16

Federal budgetary institution «Marine rescue service of ROSMORRECHFLOT»

Address: 125993, Russia, Moscow, Petrovka st., 3/6


Official Site:

Tel: +7 (495) 626 18 08

Fax: +7 (495) 626 18 09

Rules of icebreaker support for vessels in the Northern Sea Route water area

Icebreaker support is performed by icebreakers authorized to navigate under the state flag of the Russian Federation.

Icebreaker support includes ensuring the safety of navigation of the ship in the Northern Sea Route water area, on the recommendations of an ice-breaker when the vessel is within the coverage area of the icebreaker on the very high frequency, ice reconnaissance, making channel in ice, convoy formation and placement of ships to follow the icebreaker/icebreakers, navigating in ice channel after an ice-breaker in tow, a single voyage without tug or in the convoy.

The NSR Administration indicates in the permit information on the need for icebreaker assistance in a heavy, medium and light ice conditions during navigation in the Northern Sea Route water area (subparagraph 6 of paragraph 10 of these Rules).

According to MSC Clause 51 Item 5 fees for icebreaker support of vessels in the Northern sea route water area is determined in accordance with the legislation of the Russian Federation on natural monopolies, taking into account the ship’s capacity, ice-class, the distance of icebreaker support and the navigation period.

Place and time of the commencement and completion of the icebreaker support shall be agreed by the shipowner with the organization providing icebreaker support services in the Northern Sea Route water area (hereinafter referred to as the organization providing icebreaker support services).

When approaching the point of formation of a group of vessels to follow the icebreaker/icebreakers (hereinafter referred to as ice convoy), which is set up by the organization providing icebreaker support services, or in the case of the icebreaker support of one vessel, to the meeting point with icebreaker, which is set up by the captain of the icebreaker, the ship sets radio communication with an ice-breaker on the 16 channel of very high frequency (VHF) and acts in accordance with icebreaker instructions.

Formation of ice convoy is arranged by the organization providing icebreaker support services.

The arrangement of vessels in the ice convoy is determined by the icebreaker master responsible for the ice convoy guidance.

Following the instruction from the icebreaker, the vessels included in the ice convoy shall switch to VHF channel specified by the icebreaker.

The ice convoy shall report to the master of the icebreaker performing icebreaker support for the vessels.

During navigation as part of ice convoy assisted by an icebreaker, the vessel’s master shall ensure:

• That the vessel takes the position in the ice convoy as determined by the icebreaker master;
• That the vessel maintains the position in the ice convoy, the speed and distance to the vessel ahead as directed by the icebreaker master;
• That instructions of the icebreaker master related to the icebreaker support are observed;
• That information of impossibility to maintain the determined position in the ice convoy, speed, and/or distance to the vessel ahead shall be communicated immediately to the icebreaker;
• That water level in the bilge wells is checked hourly and after the vessel’s heavy collisions with ice;
• That information of any damage to the vessel is immediately transmitted to the icebreaker.



Federal State Unitary Enterprise «Atomflot» is established to provide technological service and maintenance of nuclear-powered icebreakers and special fleet.

Based on the advanced technology of using nuclear energy to power maritime vessels Rosatomflot aims to support the intensification of Arctic shipping as the key factor of rise and development of the Russian North.

FSUE Atomflot provides the following services:

  • Ice pilotage of vessels on the Northern Sea Route (NSR) and to the freezing ports of Russia;
  • Container shipping by atomic lighter Sevmorput;
  • Support of expeditionary, scientific and research works aimed at studying hydro-meteorological conditions of seas and mineral and ore resources of the Arctic shelf adjacent to the northern coast of Russia;
  • Emergency and rescue ice operations on the Northern Sea Route and freezing seas;
  • Tourist voyages to the North Pole, islands and archipelagoes of the Central Arctic;
  • Common and special technical maintenance and repair works of the atomic fleet;
  • Handling of nuclear materials and radioactive wastes.

The acting fleet includes four atomic icebreakers with two nuclear reactors 75 thousand horse power strong – i/b “Rossiya”, i/b “Sovetsky Soyuz”, i/b “Yamal”, i/b “50 Let Pobedy”, two atomic icebreakers with a single reactor power plant 40 thousand horse power strong – i/b “Taymir” and i/b “Vaygach” and atomic lighter “Sevmorput”. Atomic icebreaking fleet has been providing regular shipping of Russian and foreign cargoes along the Northern Sea Route since 1959. Three nuclear icebreakers – i/b “Lenin” and i/b “Sibir” , i/b “Arktika”– and two floating technical bases – ftb “Lepse” and ftb “Volodarsky” – are out of commission.

Since the construction of the first icebreaker “Ermak” Russian icebreaking fleet has accumulated more than 100-year experience. It was proven in the course of history that development of navigation in the freezing seas of both northern and southern hemispheres would have been impossible without icebreakers.

Atomic Icebreaker “Yamal” technical data.

Atomic icebreaker with a turbo-electric plant, four decks, two platforms, five-level middle superstructure and two decks.

Principle dimensions:

  • Length Overall -150 m
  • Maximum Width -30 m
  • Hull Height, m-17, 2
  • Draught, m-11,0
  • Water Displacement -23000 t
  • Hull Thickness - from 32mm to 48mm along the ice belt
  • Icebreaking Capability, -2,25m-at a speed of 2 knots
  • Clear Water Speed - 20,8 knots
  • Speed in Ice - from 2 to 20,8 knots
  • Main Plant Power -75000 h/p

The icebreaker has good controllability and manoeuvrability and smooth rolling. The icebreaker remains afloat with any two compartments flooded thus meeting the requirements of Russian Maritime Register of Shipping (RMRS). The icebreaker’s hull is divided by 8 partition walls into 9 water-proof compartments. The power plant is surrounded by another water-proof wall that constitutes the second board. The most important spaces of the icebreaker are made into separate water-proof loops.

The hull is made of special alloyed steels and the surface of the submerged part is covered in special paint “Inerta-160” to protect the hull from corrosion.

There are two closed motor life plastic boats and inflammable life rafts PSN-10MK and a tug motor boat “Sea Eagle”. A helicopter can be maintained via a complex of systems and gear including a hangar.

The newest means of radio communication and electro-radio navigation are installed: satellite radiotelegraphic and radiophonetelegraphic medium, short, intermediate-frequency and ultra-short waves equipment, community TV-reception station “Screen-M1”, TV-broadcasting complex “Globe-4”, radar station, automatic navigational radar plotting system, gyrocompass, radio direction finder, echo-sounding device, electric log, portable boat radio stations and other means of communication.

At present FSUE Atomflot operates 4 nuclear powered Arktika-type icebreakers and 2 nuclear powered Taymyr-type icebreakers. By the end of 2012 it is planned to start construction of a new generation icebreaker with propulsive power of 60MW.

A new icebreaker is expected to commence its operation in 2018. The designed width of the icebreaker will constitute 34 metres which will allow the large Aframax-type vessels to safely follow the icebreaker through the water passage.  A multipurpose new generation atomic ice-breaker is designated for:

- Independent pilotage of vessels and leading of ice convoys in the western region of the Arctic all year round;

- Ice pilotage of vessels in the shallow water areas of the Yenisei and Ob Rivers;

- Towing of vessels and other floating devices through ice and ice-free waters;

- Assistance to vessels and implementation of salvage operations in the ice conditions and in ice-free water.

The ice-breaker is designed for use in the Barents, Pechora and Kara Seas as well as at the shallow water areas of the Yenisei and Ob Rivers. The ice-breaker is possible to be used during summer-autumn period of navigation in the eastern Arctic region, including transit transportation on the NSR.

The length of the ice-breaker is 160m, width is 33m, draught on the design waterline is 10.5m, and minimum working draught is 8.55m. The store of provision is designated for 6 months. Sea endurance is not limited. The service life of the ice-breaker is 40 years. As distinct from the existing ice-breakers, the multi-purpose ice-breaker is able to pilot vessels both at the deep water areas of the NSR at the draught of 10.5m and at the shallow water areas at the draught of 8.55m. The maximum thickness of continuous flat ice cover of 500kPa strength through which the ice-breaker can make a channel at a continuous speed of about 1.5-2 knots at full engine power and draught on the design waterline at the deep water constitutes 2.80m. At the shallow water areas the thickness is 2.10m. The speed of the ice-breaker in ice-free water is 20 knots. To deliver people, mail and cargoes to the ice-breaker, to transport the sick, to deliver medical personnel to wrecking vessels and to carry out other works a complex of technical facilities to deploy a helicopter is provided at the ice-breaker.  

CHNL IO: CHNL Information Office

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