Only the “majors.” Smaller vessels (less than 10,000 HP), such as the Royal Navy’s HMS Protector, and “ice-strengthened” vessels such as the British Antarctic Survey’s RRS Ernest Shackleton, are not included.
U.S. Coast Guard’s 2013 Reivew of Major Ice Breakers of the World
The Coast Guard Office of Waterways and Ocean Policy (CG-WWM) began producing the chart of major icebreakers of the world in July 2010. Since then, we have gathered icebreaker information and recommendations from a variety of sources and experts, including icebreaker subject-matter experts, internet posts, news updates, Arctic experts and Coast Guard offices with icebreaker equities. We validate our information within the public forum and update the chart at least semi-annually based on new information and feedback. This chart represents the Coast Guard’s current factual understanding of the major icebreaker fleet. This chart is not intended for icebreaker fleet comparisons and no inference should be drawn regarding a country’s icebreaker “ranking” against another.
Scope. Vessels meeting the general definition of a polar icebreaker per the 2007 National Research Council report on Polar Icebreakers in a Changing World are included. These vessels “have sailed in significant sea ice in either the Arctic or the Antarctic,” have “ice strengthening sufficient for polar ice” and possess “installed power of at least 10,000 horsepower.” Minimally ice-strengthened ships (enough to survive in ice, rather than operate in it) and icebreakers of less than 10,000 horsepower are not included. With the exception of the Baltic icebreakers, this chart does not indicate where their owners may actually operate them. In addition, the chart does not specify whether a vessel’s crew is civilian or military.
Classification Methodology: The chart organizes the icebreakers first by country, then by installed power category, and finally in order of placement in service, youngest to oldest. The chart colors icebreakers by their relative capability estimated using brake horsepower as the most common basis. The most capable icebreakers are black, the next level sea-green and the lightest icebreakers are blue. Icebreakers in construction are colored yellow, and planned icebreakers are white. Planned icebreakers are placed on the chart if we can reliably state they are funded. The chart identifies government-owned or -operated icebreakers with the country’s flag next to the icebreaker. Nuclear-powered icebreakers are marked with an N. Baltic icebreakers designed to operate solely in seasonal, first-year Baltic Sea ice but meeting the ice-strengthening and horsepower criteria are marked on the chart with a B. Most Baltic icebreakers may not have operated in the Arctic due to concerns with open-ocean sea-keeping ability for open water transits.
Fleet numbers and Icebreaker Size in Context. The fleet numbers and icebreaker size tend to align along each county’s economic necessity for icebreaker resources. For example, the economies of Finland, Russia and Sweden have greater dependence on major icebreakers to pursue economic goals in the Arctic and Baltic winters than the economies of other nations. Also, ice in these countries’ shipping lanes, rivers and ports forms earlier, lasts longer, and requires more power to break, requiring more extensive icebreaking capabilities. Similarly, the Canadian icebreaker fleet supports summer access and supply to Canada’s Arctic communities. In contrast, in addition to the polar icebreakers already listed, the U.S has a number of icebreakers operating in the Great Lakes, New England and the mid-Atlantic to facilitate commerce and for exigent circumstances, but these are not listed in this chart because the icebreakers are not required to meet the threshold of at least 10,000 BHP.
You have to feel sorry for the Argentine Navy. They have a bankrupt government, its training ship is seized by creditors and only freed after legal wrangling, and its surface fleet sinks due to lack of maintenance, and now there’s no money (again!) for the ARA Libertad, its training schedule has been cancelled, and we’re to believe that this was what was planned all along. Sure. Perhaps we could pass around the hat and see if we could collect the $2m/£1.35m needed.
Argentine training frigate ARA Libertad at last moment suspends annual trip
Argentina’s flagship the tall mast frigate ARA Libertad which last year was retained in Ghana for 77 days, unexpectedly suspended until 2014 the beginning of its annual instruction trip which was scheduled to leave Buenos Aires this weekend.
In a brief release the Argentine Navy said that the suspension of the 44th instruction trip was because ARA Libertad will be participating in February next year in a Latinamerican tall-mast vessels display to take place along the coast of Brazil and Uruguay which will be followed by a trip calling at Pacific and Caribbean ports and finally Veracruz in the Gulf of Mexico.
The motive for such an event and show of Latinamerican integration is the celebration of the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Montevideo, several sea-combats along the River Plate that finished Spanish naval dominance in the area and the fall of the last bastion, Montevideo, which was Spain’s main naval. The United Provinces fleet was commanded by Irish born Guillermo Brown, who is considered the father of the Argentine navy.
The suspension is so that “the crew can better prepare for the tall vessels event next year, that will be visiting Argentina and later tour Latinamerica in a display of regional integration and friendship, precisely because of the Battle of Montevideo anniversary”, said Fernando Morales, vice-president of the Argentine Naval League.
“The celebration begins in February in the River Plate and then moves on to Mar del Plata and Ushuaia, following along the Pacific calling at Chile, Peru, Ecuador and Colombia. In the Caribbean they will call at Venezuela, Dominican Republic and ending in July in Mexico”, according to Morales.
ARA Libertad will be accompanied by the ocean research sail vessel “Dr. Bernardo Houssay” and the catamaran “Ice Lady Patagonia II” from the Austral Scientific Research Association.
Thus the final instruction trip for Argentine Navy cadets promotions 142 and 143 will begin January 2014 with a mid trip replacement, so that all members can accomplish with the needed days of sailing and high seas professional training.
However despite the celebration announcement Argentine naval and diplomatic sources were quoted in the Buenos Aires media saying that the true reason for the delay of the five month instruction trip is the lack of needed funds: two million dollars.
ARA Libertad last year was retained in Ghana 77 days, following a dispute with an investment fund that holds defaulted Argentine bonds. Finally the UN Tribunal for the Law of the Sea in Hamburg ordered its immediate release after voting unanimously that war ships are immune to impounds based on the Law of the Sea and the Vienna convention.