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15.01.06 13:41
Dry cargo vessels of Caspian Express type in the ice conditions

Extremely severe weather conditions and low temperatures (down to 20-30°C) during last weeks caused intensive ice formation on the surface of Azov Sea.
Average ice thickness is of 40 cm, in the port of Eysk region ice thickness is of 80 cm.
Kerch channel became frozen, vessels' passing carried out only with the help of ice convoy.
Ice formation in Odessa gulf was noticed. Usually this happens rarely, about one time during 10 years (see photo).
003RSD04 prj dry-cargo vessels of "Caspian Express" type "Ulus Prime" (lead vessel of the project) and "Ulus Breeze" (the fourth vessel of the series) continue successful operatation in severe weather conditions in the port of Eysk (see photo).
"Albros" company (Raim Alekperov is a general director) is a ship-owner.
Vessels' project is designed by the Marine Engineering Bureau (MEB).
Deadweight is of 3760 tons with the sea draught of 4.46 m.
As to masters message, vessels carried out voyages through canal and in sea in different ice conditions, from young ice up to ice fields with the thickness of 40 cm, in convoy and also on their own.
Cracks, dents and other hull damages were not found, there was no increased vibration.
Vessels easily go up onto the ice, are manoeuvrable enough due to their comparable small length (they can turn without speed decreasing), leave wide trace.
Cruising speed of the convoy decreasing because of other vessels inability for navigation through ice field. Ice breaker have to provide additional help to these vessels.
Vessels of "Caspian Express" type can sail in severe conditions with ice-field thickness up to 30-40 cm by their own in comparison with other vessels. During these voyages they can keep constant the speed of 4 kn. E.g., during another forced convoy stop by-pass of stuck vessels was carried out through broken ice and also through ice-field. The purpose of such by-pass was to avoid strong pressure and to avoid drift toward near shoal.
If the vessel gets stuck in the ice, propeller working with rudder transposition of 15-20° makes large scours of clear water, which make easier reverse sailing.
These voyages demonstrate another useful function of "Caspian Express" type vessels - possibility of being operated in shallow water Russian ports of Azov Sea in almost any conditions.
As one master told only tankers of "Armada Leader" type (005RST01 MEB prj.) are adapted for such sailing conditions better than vessels of "Caspian Express" type among all the vessel being operated in the region.
Six vessels of this project are ordered in total. Four of them were put into operation.