Design: The Superhero of the Frozen Waterways

Icebreakers are already epic. The Baltika cranks things up a notch.

Today in design, we take a look at the world’s first icebreaker with an asymmetric hull. Unlike your average cold water juggernaut, the Baltika is capable of cutting through ice while traveling sideways. Due to the rather slim profile of 67 feet, the 12,000 horsepower icebreaker needed a way to efficiently cut a path for larger ships. By approaching the ice on a large angle of attack, the Baltika is able to create a 160 foot channel through two feet of ice. When operating head-on, the icebreaker easily blasts through 3.3 feet of ice at a sustained speed of 3.5 miles per hour. However, operating as a rescue ship for the Federal Agency for Maritime and River Transport, the Baltika is capable of doing more than cutting through the hard stuff. When needed, the Baltika can be called upon to tow distressed vessels, float facilities and even extinguish external fires. If a ship could be a nautical embodiment of a superhero, the Baltika would be Superman.