ST.PETERSBURG, October 21 (RIA Novosti's Anna Novak) - In St.Petersburg on Thursday, the joint-stock company Baltic Factory and the Federal Unitary State Enterprise (FGUP) Rosmorport have concluded a contract for building a diesel-electric iceboat.

Its cost will be about 2.5 billion roubles (1 dollar approximately equals 29 roubles), the Baltic Factory press service said.

In August 2004 the Baltic Factory won the international tender for building iceboats. Building of the first will begin in the first quarter of 2005 and in late 2006 it will be passed to the customer. The second iceboat will be laid down in late 2007.

The new iceboats are designed to pilot large tankers in the Gulf of Finland in winter, tow ships and do search-and-rescue work at sea.

The iceboats will be housed in port of Primorsk. Experts say that Primorsk will annually handle 60 million tonnes of oil by 2006, the designed rate for 2010 is 100 million tonnes of oil. "Bearing this in mind, the Russian Transport Ministry has taken the decision to build two updated iceboats", the Baltic Factory press service said.

A modern diesel-electric iceboat is a two-deck vessel with two full-drive swinging propellers. This innovation gives the vessel additional manoeuvrability. There is a helipad on the stern for Ka-32 and Ka-226 helicopters.

The displacement will be 15,400 tonnes, length 116 metres, width 29 metres, draught 8.5 metres, shafts power 18 megawatts, cruising speed 17 knots, crew 20.

The Baltic Factory has over 80 years of experience of building ships strengthened against the ice. In the former Soviet Union, it was the first builder of diesel iceboats in the 1920s. In 1974-1992 it built a set of nuclear-powered iceboats of the second generation. In 1989 and 1990 two nuclear iceboats - the Taimyr and Vaigach - were built in cooperation with the Finnish Wartsila shipyard. The 50 Let Pobedy nuclear iceboat is nearing completion at the Baltic Factory.

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