What is an Ice Breaker Ship?

There is a very popular saying in the English Language – when the going gets tough, the tough get going. An ice breaker ship is an example of how water navigation is possible even in the toughest of situations.

An ice ship is used in extremely cold regions where thick layers of ice are formed on the surface of water.  The ice makes the waters inaccessible for ships or boats. Ice ship is thus used to break the ice sheet to allow other ships to ply in the region.

ice breaker ship

The main requirements for a ship to become an ice ship can be explained as follows:

  • The hull of the ship needs to be really strong to hold against the ice
  • The shape and the design of the ship need to be specific. A ship with a conventional design cannot be used as ice ship under any circumstances. Steel is the main equipment used to build the hull and the other parts of the ice breaker ship
  • The ship has to have the strength and power to withstand the pressure of the ice while it moves ahead in the water and continuously breaking the ice
  • The propellers and the ballast tanks of the ship are also built in such a way that they do not get affected by the ice. The propellers of the ice breaker ships are always covered with protective covering

The concept of an ice ship is not a new one. It has been in use right from the 11th century. However, the technology has developed in the years following and the ice breaker ship evolved from being constructed of plain wood to being operated by steam engine in the 19th century. The City Ice Boat No. 1 was the first steam engine powered ice ship that was built in Philadelphia.

One of the most well-known and successful boat builders who changed the way ice breaker ships were built in Europe was Mikhail Britnev of Russia. He built three famous ships Pilot (1864), Boy – Russian for Battle – (1875) and Booy – Russian for Buoy – (1889).

In today’s times, the technology has developed to make ice ships propelled through nuclear power. The first ice ship that used nuclear power to break the ice in its route waters was the Soviet ship Lenin in the year 1959. This ship was officially disbanded (disused) in the year 1989. Today there are many nuclear powered ice breaker ships that operate in the European waters.

Manufacturing an ice breaker ship is a costly process; however the usage and efficiency provided by the ship are tremendous. In those areas where trading is impossible without proper water transport, these ice ships help to maintain the continuity in trade and business.

You may also like to read-What are Double Acting Tankers?

What Is A Floating Storage Regasification Unit (FSRU)? 

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