Non-metaphorical icebreaking

2007-05-24

in Geek stuff, Travel

A couple of interesting random facts that I came across today, about the ferries that operate in the Baltic, including between Tallinn and Helsinki:

  1. Many of these ships have an ice class of 1A Super, which means they can travel through sea lanes where the ice is one metre thick, provided they have an icebreaker out front to break it up a bit.
  2. At least some of these ships (belonging to the Finnish shipping company Eckerö Line) were specifically made NATO-compatible, so that they could be rapidly converted into troop carriers in the result of the Cold War becoming hot.

The details of icebreaker design are quite interesting, though I suspect that building them will not be a growth business in the decades to come. Of course, if the northern polar region melted enough for icebreaking routes to be profitable forms of shipping, that might prove to be untrue for a certain period of time.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Scott May 24, 2007 at 5:41 pm

Not sure if you’d heard much out there about the requirement that was settled upon for corvette-sized ice-strengthened patrol vessels, six instead of the four heavy, armed icebreakers that the Conservatives originally had planned. As usual, CASR provides a quick and painless explanation http://www.sfu.ca/casr/bg-icebreaker-svalbard.htm and CBC http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2007/05/13/arctic-patrol.html

I was sitting there scratching my head to try and figure out how a corvette sized ship a hundred metres long could displace 6300 tons and our large frigates could be 441 metres in length and displace only 4770 or so tons. Then I saw a picture of K/V Svalbard, its fascinating how stout and heavy they have to be to weather the ice.

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