Top 10 Largest Icebreaker Ships in the World

Largest Icebreaker Ships: When traveling over ice-covered seas, icebreaker ships need to have certain attributes including a stronger hull, a shape that breaks through ice, a lot of momentum, and a powerful engine to push through the frozen ground.

In areas covered in ice, where it is necessary to remove the layers of ice to make waterways accessible, ice breaker ships play a crucial role.

Top 10 Largest Icebreaker Ships in the World are listed below.

10. Polar Sea (WAGB-11) USCGC

The Seattle-based Lockheed Shipbuilding and Construction Company produced one of the most potent non-nuclear icebreaker ships in the world, which is still in use today. The Polar Sea can move through six feet of ice at three knots and has a displacement of 13,194 long tons. Its length is 399 feet.

Twenty chief petty officers, two dozen additional engaged personnel, and twenty officers make up the crew. This icebreaker ship has a modest ship store, a library, a gym, and four large lounges. In addition, it features a picture lab, video library, radio equipment, satellite phones, and a U.S. Post Office of its own. With its onboard laboratories covering oceanography, sea-ice physics, geology, vulcanology, and other subjects, it functions as a platform for scientific research.

9. RRS Sir David Attenborough

 The British Antarctic Survey operates the Royal Research Ship, also known as RSS Sir David Attenborough, an ice-class research vessel for the Antarctic. It also helps the area’s logistical supply needs. The ship can accommodate two helicopters and has a 900 cubic meter cargo hold. RRS Sir David Attenborough is 423 feet long overall and has a 79-foot beam. It was constructed with space for 60 research employees and 30 crew members.

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8. Kapitan Dranitsyn

Another Russian icebreaker in the top 10 is Kapitan Dranitsyn. It has been converted into a passenger ship that can accommodate up to 100 people and is furnished with public spaces that include roomy lounges, bars, a library, and other recreational amenities.

Image of Kapitan Dranitsyn in Representation
Its whole length is around 423.3 feet, and its beam is 87.1 feet long. It has six Wartsila-Sulzer engines, each of which generates about 18,000 horsepower.

7. Shirase

(Credit: Wikipedia)

One of Japan’s four Antarctic icebreakers, the ship Shirase is part of the country’s maritime self-defense fleet. The ship has a width of around 92 feet and a length of 452.9 feet. With four diesel-electric motors powering it, the total output is 22,000 KW. It can transport 1,100 tons of cargo and eight scientists.

Image of Shirase Representation
The Shirase icebreaker has an innovative auxiliary icebreaking system that comprises of holes in the ship’s bow through which water is sprayed to moisten the snow that has accumulated on the ice. This improves the icebreaking effect by making the ice easier to hold.

6. Viktor Chernomyrdin

Another Russian icebreaker that was outfitted at the Admiralty Shipyard in Saint Petersburg is Viktor Chernomyrdin.

Viktor Chernomyrdin
(Credit: Cruisemapper)

She is the biggest and most potent diesel-electric icebreaker ever constructed in Russia, with four 8,700kw diesel engines. It moves 22,000 tons with a draft of 28–31 feet and an overall length of 482 feet with a beam of 94 feet.

5. Yamal

(Credit: Cruisemapper)

Atomflot is the operator of the Russian nuclear-class icebreaker Yamal. The ship’s name, Yamal, translates to “End of the Land” in Nenets.

Yamal can transport many Zodiac boats and one helicopter. It has a big dining area that can accommodate 100 people at a time, a library, a passenger lounge, an auditorium, a volleyball court, and a gymnasium, among other attractions.

Yamal Image of Representation
At an 11-meter draft, 23,000 tons of water are displaced. The ship has two nuclear reactors installed to power it; it is 486 feet long and 98 feet wide.

4. Taymyr & Vaygach

Taking fourth place on the list of largest icebreaker ships are these two sister ships.

The Soviet Union had the nuclear-powered shallow-draft icebreakers Taymyr and Vaygach built in Finland in 1989. Their total length is approximately 490 feet, and their beam is roughly 92 feet long. At their greatest draft of thirty feet, they are displaceable by about twenty thousand tons.

As of 2011, the largest icebreaker ship in the world is the NS 50 Let Pobedy, often known as 50 Years Since Victory in Russian. Taymyr & Vaygach Representation Image 3. It is a Russian nuclear-powered icebreaker of the Arktika class with remarkable maneuverability and a top speed of 21.4 knots. The ship is 524 feet long, has a crew of 140, and can move 25840 metric tons. The intention is to break through ice up to 2.8 meters thick.

3. NS 50 Let Pobedy

NS 50 Let Pobedy
(Credit: Wikipedia)

The spoon-shaped bow design, equipped with a digital automated control system, improves the effectiveness of breaking the ice. Onboard amenities include a restaurant, a music salon, a library, a swimming pool, a massage room, and an exercise center.

Icebreaker Ships: Breaking Through Ice-Covered Waters for Navigation

2. Sibir

(Credit: Wikipedia)

Russian icebreaker builders launched another nuclear-powered icebreaker as part of the Arktika project. They named the ship Sibir and delivered it in December 2021. Operating effectively in shallow Arctic river estuaries and along the Northern Sea Route, the vessel has a draft of 8.65 to 10.5.

Image of Sibir Representation
With a maximum beam of 112 feet and an overall length of 569 feet, the ship can carry between 25,540 and 33,530 tonnes of cargo.

1. Arktika

(Credit: Wikipedia)

One of Russia’s newest nuclear-powered icebreakers, Arktika is a part of Project 22220. At the moment, it is the world’s biggest and strongest icebreaker ship.

With its length of 570 feet and a peak elevation of around 168 feet, Arktika provides exceptional visibility for the crew to see the surrounding area and the ice beneath the ship.

Image of Arktika in Representation
With a 10.5 m draft, the ship moves over 33,000 tons of water. Its nuclear turbo-electric propulsion can break through nine feet of thick ice at a minimum of 1.5 to 2 knots and reach a maximum speed of 22 knots.

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