At the end of January, the results of the contest “Technical and Economic Model of the Northern Sea Route” were announced. The revival of the Arctic is one of the strategic directions of Russian politics. But in order to ensure our constant presence in high latitudes, it is necessary to bring to a common denominator all the factors that determine the normal development of the region - from economic to environmental. This includes the life support of the Arctic, the formation of the appropriate infrastructure, and, of course, the optimal transportation schemes, including using specialized fleet ice class.
Russia remains the recognized leader in world icebreaking. This, in particular, confirms the certificate prepared for the US Congress. Let us turn to her for the sake of objectivity. According to American estimates, we have an 34 icebreaker in operation, with the most powerful in the world, four more in construction, nine in projects. In second place is Norway, with only nine vessels of this type.
“If we compare only the price of fuel, the operation of a nuclear-powered icebreaker, twice as powerful as diesel, is cheaper, not to mention ice traffic”
Our icebreaking fleet allows us not only to carry out systematic pilotage, but also to organize a full-blooded transport conveyor along the Northern Sea Route, which will undoubtedly contribute to the development of the entire Arctic.
Meanwhile, the lion’s share of the five million tons of cargo that went through the NSR last year falls on the port of Sabetta under construction with the production of liquefied natural gas, while transit traffic has declined.
The main route from Europe to Asia - through the Suez Canal - is three times longer than the northern route. However, transportation of a container along a long route costs from 500 to 1000 dollars, and along the Northern Sea Route it is about three times more expensive, both because of icebreaker traffic and because of the size of container ships.
Cargo delivery is cheaper, the larger the vessel for moving it. The capacity of modern ocean transport is approaching 20 thousands of TEUs (20-foot standard containers). For example, the Tripple E-Class M / V Mrsk Mc-Kinney Mller is designed for 18 238 TEU, and recently began building a series of ships for 21 thousand containers under 450 meters long and about 60 wide. It is clear that such ocean giants are not for Arctic swimming, they simply do not have ice class. In addition, today's icebreaker is not able to build a shipping channel with a width of 60 meters - we are only striving for this. But our bulk carriers are able to take on all the 500 TEU. From this tremendous rise in the cost of transportation. Therefore, the developers of marine technology offer not only icebreakers, but a whole line of ice transport. In particular, our colleagues from TsNIIMF recently defended in the Ministry of Transport a project of a container ship for Arctic navigation with a capacity of 3000 TEU.
It is more convenient with two transfers
Now it is important to understand how to organize the most efficient way through the Northern Sea Route. If for this purpose we use tankers, bulk carriers, ice-class container carriers, they are unlikely to be competitive in transit traffic. On "clean water" such vessels lose. They are more metal-intensive and energy-consuming (with high fuel consumption), have excess power for "clean water". On the other hand, the entire northern route from Europe to Asia is 7200 miles and only half passes in harsh ice conditions: from the Kara Gate to the Bay of Providence. Therefore, TsNIIMF proposes a new transport algorithm - with transshipment of cargo and arrangement of two hubs: Murmansk and Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, which can be operated by ordinary ships. The construction of large ports at the entrance to the Kola Bay and on Kamchatka itself will noticeably push the development of the territories of both the North and the Far East.
In a word, it is necessary to create a transit system of the Northern Sea Route. Here there is infrastructure, bunker bases, intermediate ports, navigation and rescue support. Despite the fact that the northern highway, according to statistics, is the safest. For all history Only eight ships and one person died here (member of the crew of the Chelyuskin ship).
Of course, the northern transportation requires investments, we need a normal economic model, coupled with a global cargo base and aimed at making the route competitive both in time and in cost. It is worth investing in this business.
The results of the contest “Technical and Economic Model of the Northern Sea Route” have just been summed up, in which the draft of the Analytical Center under the Government of the Russian Federation won. I hope this will be a significant step towards a comprehensive understanding of the economy of the Arctic route.
From “Moscow” to “Novorossiysk”
It is gratifying that the top leadership of the country responded in time to the alarm signal: by the beginning of the twenty-first century, the icebreaking fleet built in the Soviet years had significantly developed its intended resource. And when transporting cargo through the most difficult part of the Northern Sea Route, ice can not be dispensed with even with global warming itself. And in recent years, we are witnessing a resurgence of domestic icebreaking.
The first swallows were two 16-megawatt icebreakers, which, with the help of the Krylov Central Research Institute, were built in the 2008 – 2009 years at the Baltic Shipyard: St. Petersburg and Moscow. They are the most advanced diesel-electric installation, modern equipment, azimuth rotary propulsion. This new direction in the design of civilian ships, by the way, is gradually winning a place in military shipbuilding. Effective hull shape, well proven in operation. Sailors say that icebreakers are successful.
The design of the exterior of the atomic icebreaker of the 10510 project (LK-110Я, cipher "Leader") was developed in collaboration with Iceberg Central Design Bureau. Photo: cont.ws
Vyborg Shipyard continued this series, already somewhat modernized. The hull lines remained the same, but the power was increased from 16 to 18 megawatts, and everything above the upper deck was rearranged. If the "Moscow" and "Petersburg" (project 21900) - a classic helipad on the stern, then in the updated model (project 21900 m) it was moved to the tank. The stern part, where a powerful towing winch is installed, is released for passing loads. Due to the redesign, new functionality appeared, as the customer wanted. The head icebreaker "Vladivostok" and the first serial - "Murmansk" have already stepped on watch. The third side - “Novorossiysk” was launched and after testing it will go to the port of registry at the end of this year. Each such double-deck 119-meter conductor with a 14,3 displacement of thousands of tons of an unlimited navigation area is able to overcome the ice of one and a half meters thickness.
Museums and concepts
Wiring through two-meter ices will be provided by the most powerful (25 MW) diesel-electric icebreaker Viktor Chernomyrdin of the 22600 project with a length of 146 meters and a displacement of over 22 thousand tons, being built at the Baltic Shipyard.
Our experts have calculated that the maximum power of diesel-electric icebreakers - 30 megawatts, if more - the ships are simply unprofitable. The fact is that their fuel consumption is 200 grams per kilowatt / hour, and it turns out that most of the deadweight will be eaten by fuel. It was not by chance that the hard workers “Captain Dranitsyn”, “Captain Sorokin”, “Captain Khlebnikov” and “Captain Nikolayev” - 16-megawatt built in the times of the USSR.
No matter what they say, nuclear-powered icebreakers cannot do without. If we compare only the price of fuel, the operation of a nuclear-powered vessel, twice as powerful as a diesel one, is cheaper. Not to mention the ice cross. In short, the only opportunity to develop Arctic transit and active economic activity in the Arctic is icebreakers with nuclear reactors.
Now there are eight nuclear-powered ships in Russia: the Arctic, which took over the polar watch in 1975, Siberia (1977), Russia (1985), Taimyr (1989), Soviet Union (1990), Vaigach (1990), Yamal (1993) and 50 of the Victory Years (2007).
The “Soviet Union” is being repaired, there is a proposal to retool it under the command center of the Arctic group of the Ministry of Defense (for more details see “MIC”, No. 3 – 4, 2016). The “grandfather” of the atomic icebreaking fleet “Lenin” (1959) became a museum in Murmansk. We hope that the Arctic will be museified, which, like Siberia, will be decommissioned.
The name “Arktika” has already named the nuclear-powered submarine LK-60, which is being built at the Baltic Shipyard. This is a serious project of the Iceberg Central Design Bureau and the Krylov Research Center. At the request of the customer, in addition to our research, control tests were carried out twice in foreign experimental ice pools, in particular in Hamburg. All the parameters stated by the State Research Center were confirmed. The LC-60 with a length of 173 of a meter and a displacement of more than 33 thousand tons will be the largest and most powerful icebreaker in the world (two-reactor unit RITM-200 – 2х175 MW). Due to the two-pack construction, it will be able to work in the western region of the Arctic - in the Barents, Pechora and Kara Seas, and in the shallower parts of the mouth of the Yenisei and Ob Bay. And the 34-meter hull width will allow alone carrying out tankers with a displacement of up to 70 thousand tons in the Arctic, overcoming three-meter ice at a constant speed. In a word, this is a modern vessel that meets the requirements of the second half of the XXI century. With rhythmic financing, shipbuilders will be able to build three new nuclear-powered ships by the 2020 – 2021 years.
In the working portfolio - a promising project "Leader". This is a classic, classic-style nuclear powered icebreaker with a length of more than 200 meters and a width of approximately 47. Power installation capacity - 110 – 120 megawatts. It will be able to lay an 50-meter wide shipping channel for the wiring of large ocean transports.
The conceptual design is made in two versions: two- and four-shaft. Tested, estimated value of the icebreaker. When the government decides on the construction, there will be a technical project.
Captains for the Arctic
It is worth noting that icebreaking is one of the knowledge-intensive industries, where the most advanced developments and dual-purpose ideas are accumulated. For example, the project of a two or four icebreaker. It will be able to provide the 60-meter channel even at lower power and will cost less, respectively. Other options: an icebreaker with an asymmetrical hull or super-maneuverable with an additional propeller in the nose tip, able to walk almost sideways. Such a build in Finland for Sabetta.
One of the eternal tasks of shipbuilders is to slow down corrosion. In arctic conditions, it "eats" a year almost according to 0,1 millimeters of the ship's hull. To save metal, we proposed an optimal ratio of physical, magnetic and static fields with a certain arrangement of protectors, supplying the appropriate current. This know-how Krylov Center delivers and the Navy. The same applies to the electromagnetic compatibility of the latest clever systems, without which a modern ship cannot be imagined.
A landmark event in the design of marine technology was the opening in the Krylovskiy scientific center of the most modern experimental Arctic basin in the world. The old one - 36 long in meters and 6 wide - was already inferior in capabilities to its competitors in Helsinki and Hamburg. The length of the new with additional cameras - about 100 meters with an active 80-meter "field". Here practically everything is feasible: tests for propulsion, for maneuverability, for ice load of both stationary platforms and anchored ones. You can even watch the ice creep on the object at very low speeds ... And the offshore basin under construction will allow you to simulate and compare the wind load and the current system with depth stratification, and three-dimensional waves. The only similar object in the world is the “Marino” in Holland.
We have an ultramodern 160 seaworthy basin on 35 meters under the same offshore roof. This unique experimental complex should strengthen our leadership position.
The new Polar Code introduces the concept of "ice captain" with the relevant qualification requirements. Anticipating the need for such specialists, we opened a training center close to real conditions for the training of navigators. Admiral Makarov State University of Maritime and River Fleet prepares a training program, provides instructors and presents certificates. And the training itself takes place on our base, where you can work out the actions of one or several ship crews in difficult ice conditions. The trainings are held simultaneously on six running bridges: two - with a circular view, as in the case of transports, and four “icebreaking” ones with a review of 180 degrees. Captains can work out the interaction with ships and in a caravan, and during sea operations (maneuvering, towing, rescue) both in arctic conditions and during various unrest.
The complex also allows you to train on real models crews of platforms, tankers and support vessels during the shipment of oil and oil products. Nowhere in the world is there a similar simulator. Moreover, it was created by Russian developers and all domestic software.
This once again proves: if you do not save on serious science and experimental base, we will quickly overcome today's lag in a number of areas and take leading positions. As it happens in icebreaking.
Track on hummocks
The shortest path between the European ports and the Far East, passing through the four Arctic seas (Kara, Laptev, East Siberian and Chukchi), was called the North-East passage for a long time, and only at the beginning of the twentieth century it received its modern name. The ice part of the NSR - from the Kara Gates to the bay of Provideniya is 5600 kilometers.
The Northern Sea Route was first traversed from west to east in 1878 – 1879 by the Swedish expedition Niels Nordenskiöld. And the ship, sandwiched by the ice, was forced to winter, just 200 kilometers from the Bering Strait - the rest of the way, after being released from the “captivity”, was overpowered in two days.
Hydrographic expedition under the direction of Boris Vilkitsky on the icebreaking steamers Taimyr and Vaigach in 1914 – 1915 became the first Russian, which managed to pass the NSR, but also during two navigations, with wintering at the Taimyr Peninsula.
For one navigation, the SMP was first traveled by an expedition led by Otto Schmidt aboard the Sibiryakov ship in 1932. At the same time in the USSR, the Main Directorate of the Northern Sea Route (Glavsevmorput) was created, which played an enormous role during the Great Patriotic War. This route was used to guide warships of the Pacific Fleet to the Barents Sea, as well as transportation of coal, timber, and other economic cargoes.
For international shipping, the NSR was opened in the 1991 year.
In recent years, interest in the highway is growing, helped by climate warming. Over the past 40 years, the ice area in the Arctic has almost halved, and the ice-free navigation period in the northern seas has increased significantly. If earlier it lasted from July to September, now it is from June to November. But the number of commercial ships passing the Northern Sea Route is still in the tens, not thousands, as through the Suez Canal.