Krylov Scientific Center introduce the Multi-Hulled Icebreaker concept to make Arctic ocean super-tanker transits a real possibility.
According to the head of the marine researchlaboratory at the Krylov Scientific Center, Kirill Sazonov, one of the main objectives affecting development of hydrocarbon production at Russia's freezing sea shelf is the foundation of a sea transport system. Cost estimates show that such a system can be effective only if supertankers are used, however present-day icebreakers are not capable of breaking a wide enough way for these giant tankships.
The Krylov Scientific Center analyzed offers by Finnish experts to design an asymmetric icebreaker and an icebreaker with outriggers, but these solutions were considered not able to settle the problem. Due to nonlinear dependence of ice resistance on the hull width, the use of an asymmetric icebreaker needs a considerable expansion in power output. An icebreaker with outriggers also has disadvantages because of increased ice resistance caused through the constraining motion of ice between the icebreaker's hull and the outriggers.
As a result of research, several new projects were offered. One of them was the assembly of three or four icebreaking hulls in one piece. Specific feature are that the hulls are relatively small; each is comparable to a medium- or small-size icebreaker. Every hull is powered with propulsion unit. Right and leftmost hulls can be equipped with rudder propellers, the rest of the hulls are driven by common screws.
Model tests of the new icebreaker included towing tests in compacted flat ice (0.9, 1.5, and 2.-meter thick) and in ridged ice, and the width of the ice lane resultantly made by the model was 54-57 meters, more than enough for a supertanker passage.