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This exotic is extraordinarily exotic.   Any guesses based on appearance of  the red and white vessel below?

I’ll give a little more time to study while you prepare your guess.   Given her specs, which I share below, she’s not for offshore wind or the sixth boro, unless we have extraordinary weather  ahead.

I wish I’d been able to get closer, but 

that’s why I have a distance-shrinking lens.

Built in 2006 by Vard Langsten in Tomrefjord Norway with some construction at the Vard yard on the Black Sea in Romania, for the Russian Federation, the 243′ x 56′ icebreaker (technically, icebreaking tug) Polar Circle sailed into the sixth boro in 86-degree F weather.    The Vard facility in Romania is about 40 miles up the Danube from the Black Sea.

Previously she was home-ported in Kholmst, Sakhalin, formerly Maoka in Japanese Sakhalin.  At some recent point, she left there, registered Maltese (or maybe she was registered Maltese while up in eastern Russia, and she arrived in the sixth boro after a month-and-22-day voyage from Busan Korea.  Click here for more info and great photos of her in ice.  A previous name was Polar Pevek, “Pevek” being a settlement on the “north coast” of Russian, above the Arctic Circle.  

I’m wondering if there’s any connection between her arrival here and the “embargo” on Russian gas/oil.  Here her Norwegian owner lists her as available for charter. 



All photos, yesterday, WVD, whose previous major ice breaker photos are listed below.

Fennica and Nordica here and here.

Mackinaw and Polar Star and Sea.  I never did get closer photos. 

And a surprising set, scroll through for Soviet-era icebreakers built in St. Louis MO!!

This photo comes from the Chantier Davie Canada, aka Davie Shipyard, across from Quebec City, taken in the first half of this month.  Two Ocean tugs assist a repurposed AHTS/Supply Ship Viking Vidar into the Davie’s docks to complete the transformation from private to public.  Click on the link in the previous sentence to see her in her Arctic colors. I wrote the names of the two Ocean tugs somewhere, but . . .  Maybe someone can help.

For a time, she  flew the Russian flag and was home-ported in Kholmsk on Sakhalin Island.  I sometimes call posts like these “second lives” stories.

She’s been renamed CCG Molly Kool, her namesake being a Canadian-born US sea captain.  For posts with Canadian Coast Guard vessels, click here.

In other news, if you don’t see Ocean Taiga in Quebec City these days, here’s a development from last summer that I missed.  This also explains why Ocean Delta now flies the Jamaican flag.

And just for the record, as of 1030 this morning, I’ve received about 30 emails, over 20 of which have the words “cyber” and “giving” in them.  Enough!

Above the waterline, this looks amazingly like Peking.    Identify it?


These fotos come from Colin Syndercombe, who previously sent these fotos, and these, among others.   As to the sailing vessel, it’s from 1921, 385′ loa (Peking is 1911 and 377′), and still sails.    Know it?  It called in Cape Town earlier this month, and is now northbound.


It’s Sedov, sailing ’round the world at 90+ years old.  Click here to see ports of call.   Does anyone know if she’s ever called in a US port?







For more fotos of Sedov, click here.  Prior to this month, the last time this vessel–then Magdalene Vinnen II–called in Cape Town was in the 1930s.

Thanks much to Colin for these fotos.

So on the coldest day –so far–of the 2012-2013 winter, what kind of vessel might you expect to see in the sixth boro–maybe a “super strength icebreaking tanker?”  If so, Mikhail Ulyanov matches your expectation.   There’s no ice on NYC waters, so if you imagine this vessel breaking 1.5-meter ice, you start to have an appreciation for cold in places where it’s really cold, polar cold and dark.   Click here for a foto of her namesake AND an aerial view of her deck.


Can anyone explain what appears to be a house in the bow?


Is it that this vessel operates in seas so cold that areas like the after portion of the bridge are glassed-in and heated?


Writing on the side of vessel translates as “Sovcomflot,” and 0nly once before have I seen Cyrillic alphabet on a ship in NYC, although I can’t remember the details.


Here’s a frontal view of the “bowhouse.”


All fotos by Will Van Dorp.

Let me add a note here from Tommy Bryceland in Scotland   “The house on the bow of the Russian tanker is the Single Point mooring position.  This attaches via a hose or hose’s over the bow to a Single point mooring bouy (SPBM) out at a remote place at sea usually over an oil field. Covered in like this is unusual but will be done so for extreme cold temps working.  Im pretty sure this tanker drives astern INTO the ice and churns the ice with its props. That is why you have the strange wheelhouse shape.”  Tommy–thanks much.

By the way, this marks tugster post 2000!  Click here to see post 1000.

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