The Alexander Sannikov icebreaker has been launched at sea during a ceremony at the Vyborg Shipyard. The low emission Arc130 icebreaker is the first of its kind, boasting diesel/battery hybrid propulsion, and is being built to order for Gazprom Neft. It is designed to support tankers transporting oil from the Novoportovskoye field in the Gulf of Ob.
Currently, yard workers are fitting the technical equipment. Prior to its handover to Gazprom Neft, the vessel will undergo mooring and sea trials, with ice trials due to be undertaken in winter 2017/spring 2018, with delivery scheduled in the same year.
Two Icebreaker8 ice-class vessels are being built at the Vyborg Shipyard. They will be able to operate at temperatures as low as -50°C. The main purpose of the vessels will be ice-breaker tanker support, assistance in mooring and loading, rescue operations, vessel towing, firefighting, and oil-spill response.
Each vessel is 121.7 metres long, has a beam of 26 metres (including fenders), and a design draft of eight metres. They will have a diesel-electric propulsion system, powered by azimuth thrusters (two 7,500KW thrusters at the back and one 6,500KW thruster at the front). The vessels have been designed on the principle of zero emissions: all solid and liquid wastes will be retained on board for recycling offshore. Both vessels will be registered under the Russian flag.
The icebreakers will have three steerable propellers (two located in the stern of the vessel and one in the bow), to deliver maximum efficiency in operations under the severe climatic conditions of the Gulf of Ob. The 21.5MW-capacity vessels will be able to operate in ice of up to two metres thick.
The Alexander Sannikov and Andrei Vilkitskiy vessels will be used to ensure the year-round operation of the Arctic Gates oil export terminal, located in the western part of the Gulf of Ob in the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug. The oil terminal, which has a capacity for 8.5 million tonnes per year, has been constructed to transport crude from the Novoportovskoye field. The instruction to commence loading of a tanker with Novoportovskoye crude was given by the President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin, on 25 May 2016, by video-link.