The first in a new fleet of Russian icebreaker oil tankers being built in St. Petersburg is reported to have successfully completed Arctic trials. Dmitry Yakovenko, marketing head of the Admiralteisky shipyard in St Petersburg, said the Astrakhan had now loaded over 17,000 tons of crude oil from the Kolguyevo oil deposit in the Kara Sea and was bound for Rotterdam. He said the shipyard had received two lines of credit from Germany and Norway to build five of the new class
of icebreaker tankers, obliging it to buy some German and some Norwegian equipment. LUKOIL, Russia's largest oil company, has commissioned the fleet for its own use. The tankers can carry 20,000 tons of crude each. Four others are to be built, with the second due in 2001.