mega icebreaker

Breaking through over 13 metres of ice demands an icebreaker. These behemoths keep the world’s shipping lanes open during the harshest of conditions making them vital to the global economy. We follow the construction of a vessel that can break ice and carry cargo at the same time: The Arctic Icebreaking Containership; which is the largest commercial icebreaker ever built.

programme information


1 x 60'

Production Company

Off the Fence





Episode Information

They are the most expensive type of ship to build, and they’re costly and dangerous to run. But they’re vital for keeping trade routes open. They’re icebreakers.

Icebreakers usually clear ice-clad ocean paths for the tankers, containerships and shuttle carriers that follow in their wake. But now, the very latest in icebreaker technology is being employed within the same structure as the carrier. The Aker CS 650 is the world’s first an Icebreaking Arctic containership, the largest commercial icebreaker ever to be built.

We follow the story of the creation of this remarkable vessel. It will take 11 months to build, and measure 169 metres in length and 23.1 metres wide. Its cargo will be 650 tonnes of metallurgical products which it will carry across ice-clad seas to Murmansk, the largest city north of the Arctic Circle.

What makes this icebreaking container ship unique is that when it is in icebreaking mode it sails sideways, breaking through ice 1.5m thick. But it takes 2 years from initial design to delivery of the complete ship. Only if she passes all her trials she will be delivered to the client in a lavish naming ceremony eleven months after construction began.

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