In early December 2021, Nornickel will hand over the nuclear-powered Taimyr icebreaker to Atomflot, to support a rescue operation to free ships stuck in the ice in the eastern part of the Northern Sea Route (NSR).
The difficult ice conditions in early November 2021 resulted in several ships becoming stuck in various parts of the NSR. Given the shortage of icebreaking capacity, Vyacheslav Ruksha, Deputy Director of Rosatom State Atomiс Energy Corporation, requested that an icebreaker be diverted from escorting Nornickel vessels to support the rescue operation.
Despite its busy production programme, including escorting a fleet to Dudinka, Nornickel responded to this request and changed the schedule of ship movement to free up some of the Taimyr icebreaker’s time and to help Atomflot free the trapped ships.
Vyacheslav Ruksha, Deputy Director of Rosatom State Atomiс Energy Corporation, commented: “Understanding the gravity of the situation, Nornickel provided the company’s only nuclear-powered icebreaker to support the rescue operation. We have always valued and will continue to value our relationship with our partner and are sincerely grateful to the management of Nornickel for their response to the issue, and for providing the nuclear icebreaker, which is under a long-term contract with the company. Mutual aid and support at sea are of the highest priority and show Nornickel to be a trusted partner that can always be relied upon”.
Sergey Dubovitsky, Senior Vice President Strategy, Strategic Projects, Logistics & Procurement of Nornickel, noted: “The cooperation of leading Russian companies in the Arctic under such difficult conditions will solve the common problem of ensuring navigational safety on the NSR. Rosatom is Nornickel’s strategic partner. As a result of this partnership, several issues are being solved concurrently on a national scale — the implementation of projects in the Arctic, the development of NSR infrastructure, and import substitution.”
Nornickel is one of the key NSR cargo operators with a fleet of six Arc7 reinforced ice-class vessels. The main icebreaker for escorting vessels is the nuclear-powered Taimyr icebreaker. In 2020, the Company’s fleet transported 1.630 million tonnes of cargo across the NSR.
The nuclear icebreaker fleet is the flagship project of the large-scale modernisation of the transport infrastructure of the Norilsk Industrial District. The Company is increasing shipping volumes to implement strategic investment projects in the region, including the Company’s major environmental initiative, the Sulphur Programme. To guarantee the implementation of these plans, Nornickel previously entered into an agreement with Rosatom State Atomiс Energy Corporation and JSC Far Eastern Shipbuilding and Ship Repair Center (FESRC, a part of Rosneft Oil Company PJSC Group) on intentions to jointly design and build a dual-fuel (diesel fuel/LNG) diesel electric icebreaker. In addition, Nornickel and Rosatom State Atomiс Energy Corporation signed an agreement on icebreaker support until 2030, which includes expanded cooperation related to Nornickel’s planned increase in cargo traffic.