12 October 2012, 16:16

Russia’s strategic tasks in Arctic, global ocean

Russia’s strategic tasks in Arctic, global ocean

On Wednesday, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev attended a keel-laying ceremony of the diesel-powered icebreaker LK-25 in St. Petersburg. Industry experts say the keel-laying of the new generation icebreaker marks a new stage in Russia’s exploration of the Arctic region.

The state-of-the-art diesel-powered icebreaker LK-25 of ice class Icebreaker 8 will replace the old icebreakers, which were built in the 1980s. With the capacity of 25 MW the new icebreaker will be capable of sailing the most difficult conditions of the Kara Sea, in any ice situation.

The new ship laid at the Baltic shipbuilding plant of the United Shipbuilding Corporation will be completed in 2017. Currently, Russia is also building other new icebreakers. The ships called “Moscow” and “St. Petersburg” were laid down 6 years ago but their capacity is much smaller than that of the LK-25 ship. In terms of capacity the LK-25 project is a milestone.

And the largest ever project in the history of Russia’s shipbuilding industry is scheduled for 2013. The LK-60 nuclear icebreaker with the capacity of 60 megawatt will cost almost 40 billion rubles (more than one billion dollars) This vessel will be capable of sailing in the northernmost and easternmost parts of the Arctic region. This means that Russia will be able to solve strategic tasks in any part of the Arctic Ocean. We hear from Igor Ostretsov, the deputy director for science of the All-Russia Research Center of Nuclear Machine-Building.

"The Soviet Union was an undisputable leader in building of icebreakers. We always had the advantage in the Arctic region. Now those icebreakers are getting old and we are renewing the fleet. It is very important to secure Russia’s presence in the Arctic areas, which always belonged to us, now when many other countries are eyeing the Arctic region. An icebreaking fleet is the most important tool there."

Russia’s neighbors on the Arctic region are continuing to dispute Moscow’s claims on the Arctic shelf, which rich reserves attract even non-Arctic states such as Japan and Malaysia. Russia is continuing to explore the area to define the shelf borders and to apply a new request to the UN. Alongside the renewal of the icebreaking fleet the construction of new research ships is underway.

On Wednesday, a new scientific research ship Academic Tryoshnikov was made operational. The industry experts say that in terms of its icebreaking capabilities it is superior to the Academic Fyodorov research ship. With the new research ship of this class Russia will be able to win back the leading position in scientific explorations of the Arctic region, Medvedev said Wednesday.

"I count that the ship will help Russia to solve tasks on securing our country’s activities in the Arctic and Antarctic region and in the global ocean. Russia must secure a strong position in these explorations because it is important not only it terns of science but also in terns of geopolitical presence and the future of our country."

Making the Academic Tryoshnikov research ship operational will make it possible to resume the work of Russia’s Bellingshausen station in the Antarctic region as well as to re-launch the Russkaya research station in which activities were halted in 1989.

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