The world's largest nuclear powered icebreaker ship has been revealed by Russia as the country aims to dominate the Arctic region.

Hundreds gathered at the Baltic Shipyard in St Petersburg to see the Sibir ship sail out from the docks for the first time which has been built to transport cargo along the Northern Sea Route.

The ship is powered by two nuclear reactors and is capable of breaking up ice that is up to three metres thick enabling Russia to transport gas to parts of Asia.

The cargo ship measures in at 173 meters long and weighs 33,500 tons and is the third icebreaker ship unveiled by Russia in recent years.

Alongside the Sibir, it is joined by the Ural and the Arktika as apart of one of the largest shipbuilding projects for the region since the Soviet Union.

Oil and minerals in the Arctic is another reason for Russia's push to have control of the region.

On top of shipping, the ships are also capable of carrying out rescue work, in what remains and sparse and dangerous part of the world.

Vyacheslav Ruksha, head of Atomflot, a state-owned company that manages the ships, said: "Nuclear energy ensures Russia's undisputed leadership in the far north.

"But only with nuclear icebreakers can our country fully unveil all possibilities and advantages of the Northern Passage to the world."

A fourth ship is also planned, named The Leader, it will be constructed to be able to sail through ice more than 4.5 meters thick. This would enable to keep the shipping routes open all year round.