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    Private Sector Interest in Icebreakers Grows as Arctic Trade Opens

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    US Ambassador to Finland Charles Adams Jr. said that discussions have already begun within the business community to meet the demand for icebreaker services to escort merchant vessels through the newly opening Arctic Northern Passage.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik), Leandra Bernstein — Discussions have already begun within the business community to meet the demand for icebreaker services to escort merchant vessels through the newly opening Arctic Northern Passage, US Ambassador to Finland Charles Adams Jr. told Sputnik on Friday.

    "What I see happening is the formation of a consortium, probably a private sector consortium to operate icebreakers to provide icebreaking services to merchant vessels… generating $500,000 per ship in transit fees," Adams said.

    Adams noted the private sector initiative is "under active discussion" within the business community and added that shipbuilders, specializing in icebreakers, will "inevitably" see growing interest from the private sector, not just governments.

    Warming global temperatures have contributed to the recession of ice cover in the Arctic, allowing for increased commercial and other maritime activities across Northern Passage, a long sought-after, shorter trade route from Asia to Europe.

    Russia currently has the largest icebreaker fleet, with six nuclear-powered icebreakers, more than 30 ocean-going icebreakers, and more than half a dozen under construction. Russia is also developing two impressive new nuclear icebreakers as part of Project 22220, capable of cutting through ice 13 feet deep.


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