Russia has floated out the world’s largest nuclear-powered icebreaker ship as the country moves to reinforce its leadership in the Arctic. Crowds gathered to watch as the Sibir, designed to transport cargo along the Northern Sea Route, was launched into the water at the Baltic Shipyard in St Petersburg.
She is powered by two nuclear reactors and will be able to break ice fields up to three metres thick, clearing the path for Russian ships delivering gas to Asia. The Sibir’s displacement, a term for measuring a ship’s size, is 33,500 tons and is 173 metres long.
Along with the Arktika, put into active service last year, and the Ural, the three ships will become the “world’s largest and most powerful nuclear-powered icebreakers”, according to TASS Russian News Agency. Named Project 22220, the shipbuilding has been described as Russia’s biggest military push since the fall of the Soviet Union. This means that Russia will consistently carry out its obligations before its foreign clients on delivery of hydrocarbons or special strategic cargo which Russia is famous for.