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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Norilsk Takes Delivery of Ice Tanker

Itar-TassRussia's biggest mining firm bought the Finnish tanker as part of a plan to lessen its dependence on other shippers.
Norilsk Nickel, the country's biggest mining company, received a tanker that can safely navigate icy waters from Finland's Aker Finnyards shipbuilder as the metals producer seeks to charter fewer ships.

This is a step "in achieving independence with regard to transportation," said Dmitri Cheskik, Norilsk's deputy chief executive officer, in a statement Monday. "The company is to create its own fleet of five modern vessels."

Norilsk, the world's biggest producer of nickel and palladium, has its main production units inside the Arctic Circle.

The company halts some shipments every May as thawing ice floats down the Yenisei River, the site of Norilsk's main port, making it impassable.

The thaw is usually followed by floods, and chunks of ice often block the river. The Yenisei is ice-free from June to September, and Norilsk uses icebreakers the rest of the year to ship metal from the Arctic port of Dudinka. Ice-class tankers have reinforced hulls and stronger propellers, rudders and engines to push through ice.

The cargo vessel that Norilsk received has a deadweight of 14,500 tons and can safely sail through ice as much as 1 1/2 meters thick. Deadweight tons are a measure of a ship's capacity for carrying fuel, cargo and supplies.

Aker Finnyards is a unit of Oslo-based Aker Yards, Europe's biggest shipbuilder.