Sovietsky Soyuz stuck in heavy ice

Publish date: December 8, 1998

Written by: Thomas Nilsen

The nuclear powered icebreaker Sovietsky Soyuz is stuck in the extremely heavy and thick ice west of the Arctic port of Pevek.

According to Reuters, Sovietsky Soyuz ran into the thick ice late Monday evening, 180 kilometres west of Pevek. The Arctic port of Pevek is located on Chukotka peninsula, one of the world’s most isolated corners. The ice is reported to be 15-20 meters deep, which is unusually thick for this time of the year. The temperature is below -28 °C.

Sovietsky Soyuz is accompanying a Finnish oil tanker that carried fuel to the regional powerplant in Pevek. The icebreaker and the oil tanker got stuck on the return voyage towards the northern sea route. The crew on board Sovietsky Soyuz has sent a message, asking for a helicopter to check the area for thinner passages of ice. The icebreaker is of the Arctica class, and its two nuclear reactors make it the world’s most powerful civilian vessels. The actual power transmission to the propellers is 75,000 hp (135 MW). But not even that helps when the ice is as thick as 20 meters.