Financial shortfalls Murmansk Shipping Company (MSCo), operator of nuclear icebreakers, experienced since the beginning of 90-s, did not allow to perform the repairs of Rossiya icebreaker as it was scheduled. The counted on one-year was to be expanded to 3,5, making the overall repair costs by 15-20% higher.
Currently, Murmansk Shipping Company operates 7 nuclear powered icebreakers and one nuclear powered lighter vessel. The newest icebreaker, Yamal, was commissioned in 1993. In 1997, MSCo management stated that the two oldest nuclear-powered vessels, the Arktika (commissioned 1975) and the Sibir (1977), would be taken out of service shortly. Today, these two vessels are laid up at icebreakers base Atomflot in Murmansk.
According to Vyacheslav Ruksha, director of the atomic icebreaker fleet, the last year was marked by high traffic activity in the Arctic, which the currently four operational icebreakers could hardly cope. In the meantime, Sovetskiy Souz icebreaker is pending repairs, what makes Ruksha to celebrate the fact that Rossiya is eventually back in business.
Ruksha puts much hopes on the new 50 Years Anniversary of Victory icebreaker which is currently under construction at the shipyard in St. Petersburg. The icebreaker was launched in 1993. Its delivery to the Murmansk Shipping Company is behind the schedule. Only a minor part of the 27.5 million USD for completion of the vessel, promised for 1997, had arrived at St. Petersburg shipyard.