The "Sevmorput" will take on assignments for the Navy, the oil industry and the developers of the Pavlovsky zink and lead mine in Novaya Zemlya. Photo: Thomas Nilsen

Nuclear-powered container ship back in Arctic waters

The ”Sevmorput” completes test sailing in the Barents Sea.
December 01, 2015


After having lain idle for more than a decade, the world’s one and only nuclear-powered container ship, the ”Sevmorput”, is soon back in business.

The vessel on Monday this week returned to Murmansk after one day of test sailing in the Barents Sea, reports.

When the upgrade is completed,  the ”Sevmorput” could get a key role in the transportation of troops and military personnel to Russia’s new and upgraded Arctic bases. The ship will also be used for transportation of goods to the new Pavlovsk lead and zink mine in Novaya Zemlya, as well as for assignments for the Russian Arctic oil industry.

The ship is to be ready for duty from 1 March 2016, reports

The 260 meter long and 61.000 ton deadweight ship was saved last minute when Rosatom leader Sergey Kirienko in 2013 announced that the vessel is to be renovated and out back in duty.

Before 2013, the ship had been docked for years at the Atomflot base in Murmansk without assignments. Rosatom was preparing to turn the ship into scrap metal.

The vessel, originally built at the Zaliv yard in Kerch, Ukraine, was a unique contribution to the Soviet fleet of civilian nuclear vessels when entering service in 1988. Until then, the world had seen only three other nuclear powered civilian merchant ships, all of which ended up as failed experimental vessels.


The “Sevmorput”, which also has powerful icebreaking capacities, for several years shipped in both international and Russian domestic waters. However, shipping along the Russian Northern Sea Route declined dramatically in the 1990s and the ship was soon blocked access to most international ports.


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