Ice breakers
Shallow-draft nuclear-powered icebreaker Taymyr Tuomas Romu via Wikimedia commons

A video showing one of the largest icebreakers in the world breaking through ice on a frozen river as off-roaders stand next to it is making the rounds on Instagram. Off-roaders, driving their Toyota trucks on the frozen Yenisei River near the Kara Sea in Siberia, were treated to the spectacular sight earlier this month.

A report by the War Zone (TWZ) identified the icebreaker as Russian Taymyr, one of the largest of its kind. The vessel is nuclear powered and was reportedly built in Finland for the Russians towards the end of the cold war and has been in active service since 1989.

The massive vessel was cutting through the ice, possibly to make way for smaller boats to get through and keep the waterway navigable.

According to the report, the ship is 490 feet long, 92 feet wide, and displaces 21,000 tons. Power is derived from a single nuclear reactor located at the centre of the ship's hull, putting out 171 megawatts of power to propel the massive vessel forward.

As an icebreaker, TWZ reports that the Taymyr is designed to operate in conditions where there is more ice than water and that it can go through water bodies that are less than 30 feet deep, clearing out paths for smaller boats to get through or rescue boats stuck in frozen canals and shores.

The ship in the video is moving quite fast and it might not have even seen the group of off-roaders, notes the report. The adventure junkies, however, did see the vessel coming at them and according to a report by RT, went close enough to touch the passing icebreaker. They were quoted as lamenting that they could not lick the hull of the passing ship. The vehicles they were using seem to be not too heavily modified, notes the report.

At the time the ship passed by, it was -50 degrees Celsius, adds the RT quote. The expedition to the far Russian north started on 15 January and started in the city of Norilsk and will go on to Dikson.

Russia reportedly has a fleet of 40 fully functional icebreakers. The fleet is set to get larger with Moscow placing orders for icebreaking frigates that are armed. Considering how Russia has already started to drill the Arctic for gas, this could become a necessity.

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