Russian and Finnish shipbuilders began construction of a unique icebreaking vessel capable of plowing ice sideways, leaving a channel more than twice its breadth.
The first phase of production will take place at the Shipyard Yantar JSC in Kaliningrad, which began shearing steel for the ship’s hull on Tuesday, a shipyard spokesman said.
The vessel, commissioned by the Russian Federal Sea and River Transportation Agency and currently known only as R-70202, will go on the building berth in July, the spokesman said on Wednesday.
In March, it will be towed to Helsinki for the finishing touches put by Arctech Helsinki Shipyard Oy, a joint Russian-Finnish enterprise, which is set to hand over the vessel to the transportation agency in December 2013.
The R-70202, which measures 76.5 meters in length, will be used for icebreaking, ship towing and oil spill cleaning operations in the Gulf of Finland.
The vessel utilizes a unique design which allows it to effectively move ahead, astern and sideways. It is able to make its way through 1-meter-thick ice ahead and astern and clean a 50-meter channel in 0.6 meter ice when moving sideways despite the ship itself being only 20.5 meters wide, Arctech said on its website.