Join 3,512 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Major Icebreakers of the World
August 5, 2013 8:39 PM   Subscribe

Major Icebreakers of the World (pdf)
posted by Confess, Fletch (40 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
I don't see 'Honey If You Love Me, Smile' on there.
posted by carsonb at 8:43 PM on August 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


"Are those astronaut pants?"
posted by thelonius at 8:46 PM on August 5, 2013 [9 favorites]


"Well, you don't need a bigger boat."
posted by Going To Maine at 8:50 PM on August 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


The first Russiansh is called "50 Years Since Victory." We really need to get working on the USCG Fuck Hitler.
posted by griphus at 8:50 PM on August 5, 2013 [4 favorites]


This chart is not intended for icebreaker fleet comparisons and no inference should be drawn regarding a country’s icebreaker “ranking” against another.

I am assuming the Coast Guard put this in to feel better.
posted by Going To Maine at 8:53 PM on August 5, 2013 [5 favorites]


Cool comparisons. I've been aboard Ymer (one of the major Swedish icebreakers) once, when it docked in my hometown. The power of the engines rumbling, you could really feel the amazing mass of the ship just standing on its deck... I will never forget it, it was quite visceral.
posted by gemmy at 9:19 PM on August 5, 2013 [4 favorites]


Everyone knows the best icebreaker is a wacky hat like a fedora.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 9:22 PM on August 5, 2013 [9 favorites]


I used to work in maritime shipping, and my nickname at work was "Ice Queen" because my vessels kept getting iced out of their ports in northern China. And then they'd call me. Always at pre-dawn hours.

Did not like being the Ice Queen.
posted by vegartanipla at 9:22 PM on August 5, 2013 [14 favorites]


I was just reading, earlier today, about the new breed of icebreakers that is designed to go sideways through the ice so as to carve a wider channel.
posted by yoink at 9:25 PM on August 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


I imagine that the need for large icebreakers in the Arctic will eventually drop to zero, but not in my lifetime. These are the modern equivalent of steam locomotives.
posted by MikeWarot at 9:58 PM on August 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


I remember a story from back in the late '80s-early '90s about an icebreaker getting stuck, and they managed, after I forget how long, to get it out, or loosened up enough to get under way again, with hovercraft and flamethrowers. I assume that's SOP, but for teenage me, hearing about it for the first time, that was almost as good as samurai robots vs. zombie dinosaurs.
posted by Mister Moofoo at 9:59 PM on August 5, 2013 [4 favorites]


Looks like there is an Icebreaker Gap.
posted by grouse at 10:03 PM on August 5, 2013


In order to fully fund subsequent phases of this project, the Coast Guard believes that a “whole-of-government” approach will be necessary. Obtaining a new, heavy polar icebreaker that meets Coast Guard requirements will depend upon supplementary financing from other agencies whose activities also rely upon the nation possessing a robust, Arctic-capable surface fleet.

In other words, "Hey... Congress.... Navy... Airforce... Department of Energy... things are starting to warm-up over in that there Northwest Passage..."
posted by rh at 10:04 PM on August 5, 2013


Mukhin's Experimental Nuclear Physics (a Soviet-era Mir Publishers nuclear physics textbook) includes a final chapter on applications of nuclear physics making a big deal out of the Leonid Breznev nuclear icebreaker but I don't see it on the list... it looks like the people's glorious struggle against polar ice has fallen prey to revisionism.
posted by Dr Dracator at 10:08 PM on August 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


So how do we get these to Europa?
posted by blue_beetle at 10:17 PM on August 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Hello, cities other than Seattle! How many icebreakers do you have? Less than three you say?

Okay I am a little worried about those Scandinavians. And what's up with those Russians? It's like they can't even keep a decent all-season port.
posted by skyscraper at 10:24 PM on August 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Mukhin's Experimental Nuclear Physics… includes a final chapter on applications of nuclear physics making a big deal out of the Leonid Breznev nuclear icebreaker but I don't see it on the list...

It looks like Leonid Brezhnev was originally named Arktika and the first four icebreakers in the diagram are all Arktika-class icebreakers. That Wikipedia page has a nice story on the name of the ship:
In 1982, it was officially christened Leonid Brezhnev in honor of the General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1964 until his death in 1982. In 1986, the crew of the Leonid Brezhnev, went on a communication strike. Disliking the name of the ship, they refused to respond to any radio message unless the ship was referred to as Arktika. Within a week of the strike, the name was changed back to Arktika.
posted by grouse at 10:32 PM on August 5, 2013 [4 favorites]


Bering Sea icebreaker ramming through pack ice - Icebreaker navigating through brash ice and swells at night - Same, at regular speed, in daytime
posted by not_on_display at 10:38 PM on August 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


My dad was a marine engineer who sailed in a couple of those Canadian ice breakers. He said in the engine room the sound of the ice smashing and scraping against the hull was deafening, and that's from a man who spent about 60 years in ships' engine rooms. (I'm not sure if I'm interpreting this correctly, but it looks like the kinds of ships my dad sailed on routinely put out 80-100 db or more. I do know that hearing protection is required in engine rooms.)

I'm not sure if they're all designed this way, but at least one of them my dad sailed on would sometimes rise up on top of the ice and break it with her own weight.

I know that Canada also has research vessels not in the chart that have some ice-breaking capability, cuz my dad was chief engineer on a couple of them, and they're still in active service (although he's retired). Could be that there are vessels from other countries also missing in this chart. But this is very cool. Thank you, Confess Fletch.
posted by angiep at 10:47 PM on August 5, 2013 [4 favorites]


I was just reading, earlier today, about the new breed of icebreakers that is designed to go sideways through the ice so as to carve a wider channel.

So we've invented ice drifting. Now we just need to invent ice ghostriding.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 10:58 PM on August 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


I was hoping that this was about the best conversational ice breakers or pick up lines worldwide. Still cool though!
posted by hampanda at 11:13 PM on August 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


That, and getting a bunch of bored middle-eastern guys to sail it through the ice on its side, while replacing the propeller.
posted by Dr Dracator at 11:13 PM on August 5, 2013


angiep, there may be variations in how it's accomplished, but technically all icebreakers break through the ice using a bow that rides up onto the ice and breaks it against the weaker force of the water below rather than lateral forces against the other ice.

A fascinating recent development is the reversible icebreaker -- an ordinary cargo ship that acts as an icebreaker when run in reverse.

I imagine that the need for large icebreakers in the Arctic will eventually drop to zero

I suspect otherwise. The fact that the Arctic will be seasonally open to shipping probably points to a greater need for icebreakers, not lesser. It's not just about the open sea; the need to make ports accessible will always be there, because I don't think winter itself is going away.

Looks like there is an Icebreaker Gap.

Yeah, this basically boils down to the USCG being the stepsister of the services.
posted by dhartung at 11:14 PM on August 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


The fact that ships even try to sail through the Arctic, let alone succeed, continues to blow my freaking mind.

You know who woulda killed for one of these icebreakers? Fridtjof Nansen, who built the wooden ship the Fram "with features designed to withstand prolonged pressure from ice," gathered a crew of 12, and deliberately froze the ship into the pack ice north of Siberia in hopes that the ice would carry them over the North Pole. Nearly two years later(!), in March 1895, with the ship still (still!) stuck in the ice, he and one other guy set off on dogsleds and skis to try to get to the Pole. The whole story is so I CAN'T EVEN that, well, I can't even. So here it is on Wikipedia. Spoiler alert: Not only did the Fram survive, but 15 years later it's what Roald Amundsen sailed to reach the South Pole.

Icebreaking is literally the coolest thing.
posted by argonauta at 11:16 PM on August 5, 2013 [4 favorites]


The five older Finnish icebreakers (Kontio, Otso, Sisu, Urho and Voima) have their own colourful letterboxes.
posted by baueri at 11:25 PM on August 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


More prosaically, we rarely ever actually rented an icebreaker's service as it is expensive. We generally just rerouted the vessel to a nearby non-iced-in port and then redid all the accompanying bills of lading and associated paperwork.
posted by vegartanipla at 11:44 PM on August 5, 2013


I printed this out, took it to a bar, and showed it to several attractive women. None of them wanted to talk.

I feel cheated.
posted by MuffinMan at 1:12 AM on August 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


"Diefenbacher"? :(
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 1:19 AM on August 6, 2013


To give you an idea of how how powerful these beasts are, their BHP (breaking horse power) is very roughly equivalent to the HP (horsepower) rating of ocean going tugs.

The biggest ocean going tugs (and other specialized support vessels like anchor handling vessels) that pull or maneuver entire oil platforms rate around 15,000 HP.

The icebreakers on that chart start at 10,000 BHP and go up to 45,000 BHP.
posted by digitalprimate at 1:55 AM on August 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


CTRL+F "CO2".
posted by arcticseal at 2:36 AM on August 6, 2013


Seriously though, this is a really interesting subject.
posted by arcticseal at 2:36 AM on August 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


I was a passenger on the Kapitan Dranitsyn in the winter of 2000, on a tour of the Antarctic. It was an amazing vessel; in pictures it literally looks like an office block dropped on a freighter hull.

This was right after 9/11, and yet the passengers were permitted - encouraged in fact - to spend time in the bridge. You could stand at the radar console, borrow a pair of binoculars, and the Captain would even let folks work the controls. One night I stayed up chatting with the navigator as he had watch overnight. He taught me how to read charts, and taught me about how the boat worked.

The Captain had a great sense of humor; at one point a seal was sunning itself on the ice in our path and refused to move. The Captain sounded the horn as you would in your car if a deer was standing in the way, and the seal slowly waddled off, unimpressed with the thousands of tons of strengthened steel looming above.

We also got to take a tour of the engine room, and it was an amazing and horrible experience all at once. It's deafening and the diesel smell was enough to make you sick, but the room is the size of a gymnasium, filled with the most powerful equipment you've ever seen. You could feel the power of the ship just standing in the engine room.

While it was employed for a tourist purpose, it was still a working icebreaker. It had two helicopters, ostensibly for scouting ice conditions, but used for glacier viewing. We had Christmas day dinner on a sunny Antarctic day in the helicopter hangar; sort of a garage party Christmas cook-out.

I remember that the ship carried an extra (40' long?) prop shaft in the engine room, upright, with no discernible way to get it out.

The most remarkable thing is that the ship is designed to be able to roll to 75 degrees and right itself. We rolled to 45 degrees at one point in the crossing of the Drake Passage; it was enough to toss me around my cabin. I would not want to see a roll greater than that.
posted by OHSnap at 3:51 AM on August 6, 2013 [8 favorites]


So where's the UK in all this, you ask, that once-great maritime nation?

Don't ask.
posted by Devonian at 4:53 AM on August 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


Not only did the Fram survive,

But you can go and stand on her deck at the Fram Museum in Oslo.
posted by three blind mice at 5:50 AM on August 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


Funny how all the videos I can find of icebreakers completely wipe out the sound, overdubbing it with soundtrack music.
posted by surplus at 6:44 AM on August 6, 2013


Canada's new $50-bill has the CCGS Amundsen on the back.
posted by Kabanos at 8:24 AM on August 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


Now I want a big smashy ship named Astronaut Pants.
posted by elizardbits at 9:11 AM on August 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


Only Russia has nuclear icebreakers?!? Mr. President, we cannot allow an icebreaker gap!

I thought the US has nuke powered ones also. And that we had more than 5. Wow. Also, I did not realize that antarctic ice was an issue. But South Africa and Australia have them.
posted by Hactar at 2:05 PM on August 6, 2013


Next in the series: Major Teambuilders of the (Corporate) World
posted by MidSouthern Mouth at 2:23 PM on August 6, 2013


Happy to see my old home the Nathaniel B. Palmer on the list. As per noise, the galley on the NBP was close up near the bow on the 01 deck (more or less at the waterline). Eating lunch while the ship was breaking ice was utterly deafening.

I was briefly on the Krasin as well. She's got a swimming pool! (actually, a rusty steel hole full of freezing salt water). Oden on the other hand is posh as all get-out. The lounge is heavy with brass and wood paneling. The Swedes know how to party.
posted by deadbilly at 6:45 PM on August 6, 2013 [3 favorites]


« Older "A Day at the Park"...  |  "I haven't told why I wrote th... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments