Unlike most seagoing vessels, the Baltika doesn’t try to avoid ice. The ship is built to
crush it. With its innovative design, the Baltika can break up twice as much frozen sea
as a standard icebreaker.
A cross-cultural project team—with members from Arctech Helsinki Shipyard in
Helsinki, Finland and the Yantar Shipyard in Kaliningrad, Russia—devised a unique
asymmetric hull form and propulsion system that allows the Baltika to travel sideways, as well as forward, and break ice efficiently at an angle of up to 30 degrees. As
a result, the ship, measuring 20. 5 meters ( 67 feet) in width and 76.4 meters (251 feet)
in length, can cut a path through ice that’s wide enough for tankers to sail smoothly in
“Usually to make such a wide channel, you would need two standard icebreakers,”
says Mika Willberg, project manager at Arctech.
Mr. Willberg credits the complex project’s success in part to comprehensive model
testing in the laboratory and standardizing the Baltika’s design as much as possible.
“With an innovative project, it is important to keep the vessel’s normal equipment and
functions as standardized as possible to minimize the risks related to new features,” he
says. The multipurpose Baltika will also assist in rescue and oil recovery missions.
PROJECT: Baltika, an asymmetric icebreaker
BUDGET: €76 million
ICE;FREE CHANNEL CREATED: Up to 50
meters (164 feet) wide—more than
twice the width of the Baltika
“The Baltika will be able to clear a channel
for even the widest cargo and oil tankers.”
—Mika Willberg, project manager, Arctech Helsinki Shipyard, Helsinki, Finland