Norilsk Nickel to have icebreaker built by Helsinki Shipyard Oy

The construction of the LNG-powered ship is to be completed in 2025


 MMC Norilsk Nickel will have an Arc7 icebreaker built in Finland, by Helsinki Shipyard Oy, the shipyard says in its press release. Neither of the parties reveal the contract value. According to the shipyard’s statement, main equipment for machinery and propulsion has been purchased already.

Commenced in 2022, the construction will be completed by winter season of 2025 and the ship will be delivered to the customer. The ship was designed in cooperation with Aker Arctic Technology Oy. 

Nornickel, Rosatom State Corporation and the Far Eastern Shipbuilding and Ship Repair Center (FESRC, part of Rosneft Oil Company) earlier signed an agreement of intent to design and build a dual-fuel diesel-LNG icebreaker to escort ships carrying Nornickel’s cargo along the Northern Sea Route. The agreement was signed at  the Eastern Economic Forum .

“Obtaining of the new icebreaker by the end of 2024 is crucial for Nornickel as it ensures additional transportation capacity needed for implementation of both our strategic investment projects including the reconstruction of the city of Norilsk. It will run on LNG in line with the current environmental trend toward decarbonization and it will be a pioneer LNG-powered icebreaker operating on the Northern Sea Route”, commented Sergey Dubovitsky, Senior Vice President of Norilsk Nickel.

The new icebreaker will be equipped with integrated dual-fuel diesel-electric power plant able to run on both LNG and low-sulfur diesel fuel. The vessel will have Icebreaker8 class notation of the Russian Maritime Register of Shipping (RMRS). It will be able to break through 2-meter thick ice.

The ship’s future area of operation is the basin of the Yenisey river, the Yenisey bay and the Kara Sea to ensure the access to the port of Dudinka. Homeported in Murmansk, the icebreaker will have a task of making a channel along the Yenisey river for Arctic Expresses ships of Nornickel fleet as well as towing additionally deployed ships of Arc5 class with deadweight of up to 20,000 tonnes.

The construction of LNG-powered icebreakers has been under discussion from 2017. There was a plan to order four ships for operation in the Kara Sea and in the Gulf of Ob. It was first initiated by Atomflot which will apparently operate the icebreaker under construction. Nornickel earlier announced its intent to finance the construction with its own resources. NOVATEK also used to speak about building of icebreakers. Construction of one ship was estimated at $300 million. 

According to Vyacheslav Ruksha, Deputy General Director of Rosatom - Director of the Northern Sea Route Directorate, at least six icebreakers including four LNG-powered ones should be built by 2030 basing on preliminary estimates. Rosatom is ready to invest “under long-term agreements with partners”, he said.  A decision on commercial construction of three/four icebreakers fueled by LNG was expected by December of the past year. They are supposed to replace nuclear-powered icebreakers involved under the projects of Gazprom Neft (from 2026), Nornickel (from 2029) and NOVATEK (from 2026). 

The yard, previously known as Arctech Helsinki Shipyard was fully owned by United Shipbuilding Corporation but had been constrained by EU and US sanctions. USC sold the yard to Rishat Baugatdinov and Vladimir Kasyanenko, co-owners of Vodohod. The yard was named Helsinki Shipyard Oy. According to Arctech Helsinki Shipyard, the company’s backlog of orders ensures it loading till the end of 2024.
MMC Norilsk Nickel is a diversified mining and metallurgical company, the world’s largest producer of palladium and high-grade nickel and a major producer of platinum and copper. The company also produces cobalt, rhodium, silver, gold, iridium, ruthenium, selenium, tellurium, sulphur and other products.

The production units of Norilsk Nickel Group are located at the Norilsk Industrial District, on the Kola Peninsula and Zabaykalsky Krai in Russia as well as in Finland and South Africa.


Image source: Helsinki Shipyard Oy
Source: PortNews