Time lost through laid-
FREEING THE ST. LAWRENCE from ice. The Canadian Government ice-
OF all the strange ships which specialization brought into being, none is stranger than the ice-
Most of the old whalers were icebreakers of a sort. They were designed with immense hull strength to withstand the pressure of the ice in which they were constantly caught during their operations. Their wooden bows were sheathed with iron and their hulls given such lines that they had a limited ability to ride over ice and crush it with their weight or crumble it as they rolled. As far back as 1841 a Danish inventor named Hiorth claimed to have invented an ice-
The first recognized ice-
Five years later the Fairfield Yard built the Stanley for the Canadian Government, a vessel of 914 tons gross, designed to maintain the mail service between Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland, and to break herself a passage through the ice. In the same year the first of the ice-
These little vessels, small as they were and limited in ability, showed the Northern countries what could be done. In the ’nineties quite a number of such ships were built, the majority of them by the various port authorities. In 1894 there was the Bore, 391 tons, for work at Malmo, and the Isbjorn for Christiana, where she contrived to keep the channel free in practically all ice conditions.
AT THE ENTRANCE TO THE ZUIDER ZEE. Dutch ice-
In that decade the Russians were greatly increasing their overseas shipping and were also extending their Empire towards the East. Both plans demanded ice-
This specialization soon found appreciation in Russia, where the biggest and best ice-
The Baikal was built to connect the Eastern and Western sections of the Trans-
For harbour purposes, and especially to prevent the Navy being frozen in for a large part of the year, the Russian Government had a number of fine breakers built. The most outstanding of them was the Ermack of 1898. She was intended to keep the Baltic ports open through the winter and was the biggest ice-
This alteration was carried out by the original builders, and at the same time she was given a new bow of improved form that enabled her to tackle ice 12 or 13 feet in thickness as a regular routine job. On one occasion she successfully smashed ice 34 feet thick. Her hull was so designed that she could be driven on to the ice to use her weight. In addition its form was such that if the ice closed in on her she was lifted clear, and again her weight came into operation. Provided with very heavy frames spaced a foot apart and 25 feet in height on either side, with plating flush and over an inch in thickness, the hull internally was divided into forty-
When she tackled 34 feet of polar ice in the extreme North her speed had to be cut down to about three knots, because of the difficulty of controlling her with such severe shocks, but 24 feet of solid ice, covered by a foot or two of snow, was charged at nine knots with complete success. In one season she rescued frozen-
STRATEGIC REASONS were partly responsible for the construction of the Ermack for the Russian Government in 1893. She was 370 feet long, 71 feet wide, with a load draught of 25 feet, and had a displacement of about 8,000 tons, and was the biggest ice-
The striking success of the Ermack produced other ice-
Prompted by the success of these ships the Canadian Government had built for it at Dundee in 1899 the ice-
The very serious position in which some of the combatants found themselves for food and commercial necessities at the end of the war of 1914-
The new Baltic Republics were very enterprising. Latvia went, to Beardmores on the Clyde for the 1,932-
SO SUCCESSFUL WAS THE ERMACK in 1898 that many other ice-
As its contribution to the Polar Year of 1932 the Soviet Government contributed the ice-
In this enthusiasm the Soviet Government built the steamer Chilyuskin in 1933, at Burmeister and Wain’s yard at Copenhagen. A ship of 4,500 tons, she sacrificed many of the ice-
In succeeding years the North-
The Russian Government planned to increase its ice-
yards. Four of them are steamers, two are driven by diesel electric power, and some, at least, of them are to be fitted to carry aeroplanes (to assist in surveying work) and all the scientific equipment necessary for the researches to be carried out before the North-
Among many ships, one of the most interesting was the Ymer, built at the Kockum Shipyard at Malmo in 1932 for the Swedish Government. After a good deal of discussion and criticism the authorities decided to follow the example of the U.S. Coastguard with the Northland and give her diesel-
The choice of diesel-
The Ymer which cost £221,000 to build, carries a seaplane under a derrick between the funnel and the mainmast.
According to Lloyd’s Calendar, two winter seasons are seldom alike. Several places have been blocked during one winter and quite open the next.
Nearly all the Black Sea ports are free of ice all the year round. Kherson is an exception, and to a certain extent so is Nicolaieff, which is icebound only for a short period. Nicolaiefi is an example of the vagaries of ice-
Navigation by steam vessels in the North Sea is rarely hindered. The mouth of the Eider, however, is closed to sailing vessels for about ten days during the winter. In the Elbe conditions vary. Ice generally appears in December and at irregular intervals may interfere with navigation until the end of February. Ice has been known to appear in November and to last until March. Ice-
[From part 15, published 19 May 1936]
“The North Atlantic Ice Peril” on this website.