Press release


The revolutionary oblique icebreaking rescue vessel Baltika, developed by Aker Arctic and propelled by Steerprop, is the first vessel ever built with an asymmetric hull design that allows it to break ice ahead, astern and sideways. Because of this, the relatively small icebreaker is able to open a wide channel in ice.

The Baltika departed from Murmansk on 20 March 2015 with a team from Aker Arctic on-board and sailed to the Kara Sea to carry out full scale ice trials. The testing program included performance tests in two distinct ice thicknesses in ahead and astern directions as well as in the oblique icebreaking mode. 

Various operational tests were also included to verify the maneuverability and operational capabilities of the vessels. The vessel was monitored by an automatic measurement system set up to record ice-loads on the ship’s hull through the whole three week voyage that concluded in Murmansk on 10 April 2015.

Although the ice conditions in the Gulf of Ob were on the upper end of the vessel’s designed icebreaking capability, the Baltika exceeded the required performance targets and expectation with a clear margin. The vessel could break 1.2 metre level ice in continuous motion when proceeding bow first and could achieve a speed exceeding 3 knots when moving astern. The oblique mode, which had never been tested in rea operations before, worked extremely well.

During operational tests, the Baltika demonstrated excellent maneuverability and rubble clearing capability in the port of Sabetta. The vessel also demonstrated its ability heavy compressive ice ridges without ramming them.

“Baltika’s voyage to the Gulf of Ob proves the exceptional operational capability of the oblique icebreaker concept in very difficult ice conditions,” Project Manager Mika Hovilainen of Aker Arctic says, “The vessel could operate in ice conditions that exceeded the design criteria used as the basis of the vessel concept. The Baltika could carry out the same operations as conventional icebreakers with just half of the propulsion power as well as perform maneuvers which are not possible for any other vessel currently in service.”

Baltika (IMO number 9649237) was built by Arctech Helsinki Shipyard (Helsinki, Finland) in co-operation with Shipyard Yantar JSC (Kaliningrad, Russia) based on Aker Arctic’s oblique icebreaker design, Aker ARC 100. The vessel is 76.4 metres long and has a beam of 20.5 metres. The diesel-electric power plant consists of three Wärstilä 9L26 generating sets with a combined output of 9MW.

The Baltika is propelled by three SP 60 PULL 2.5 MW Steerprop Azimuth Propulsors, two in the stern and one in the bow of the vessel. The dynamic positioning system, which also includes the oblique icebreaking mode, has been developed by Navis Engineering. The vessel is classified by the Russian Maritime Register of Shipping in the Icebreaker 6 ice-class. In addition to icebreaking duties, the vessel is also fitted with a sophisticated built-in oil recovery system.

The Baltika is owned by the Federal Agency for Maritime and River Transport of Russia (Rosmorrechflot) and operated by the Russian Maritime Emergency Rescue Service (FGI Gosmorsspassluzhba).

Steerprop Ltd. is proud to be a part of the team that produced this revolutionary vessel.

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