In 2020, 18 icebreakers were engaged to ensure safe navigation in the water area of the Northern Sea Route. All operating icebreakers can be conditionally divided into 3 categories: nuclear icebreakers – in 2020 the new icebreaker “Akrtika” joined this group and now there are 5 such icebreakers in total; diesel icebreakers, there are 10 of them, and 3 river icebreakers operating at river mouths, adjacent to the sea routes and on their approaches, between the Siberian rivers, as well as in bays and coastal areas of the eastern part of the NSR. When calculating the activity of icebreakers, for 1 voyage we take the movement of the icebreaker from / to the port or area of work, as well as the passage from one area of work to another. In total, there were 220 such passages in 2020. The river icebreakers have low ice class – Ice 1 and Arc 4 – that is why their work takes place only in summer navigation period. Another cause is that navigation between the Siberian rivers stops in winter. The bulk of the work falls on nuclear and diesel icebreakers. More than half – 152 voyages – is accounted for nuclear icebreakers.
The map clearly shows that mainly nuclear icebreakers operated in the winter period, there were only 16 passages in the summer, while there were 136 in winter. In summer, nuclear icebreakers practically did not participate in supporting navigation in the Kara Sea on the approaches to the Ob Bay, the main work was on the routes of the NSR, in the eastern seas. Also nuclear icebreakers had one transit in October (“50 let Pobedy). A completely opposite picture can be seen on the diesel icebreaker operation map.
Most of the work was done in the Kara Sea – on the approaches to the Ob Bay from Cape Zhelaniya and the Kara Gate. In winter, diesel icebreakers operated mainly at the ports of Sabetta, Dudinka, as well as at the Arctic Gate terminal, near Mys Kamennyy. The icebreaker “Moskva” made a transit voyage in September-October, associated with repositioning.