Icebreakers on the River Neva, Saint Petersburg

During cold Russian winters the River Neva through Saint Petersburg becomes covered with ice, with icebreakers required to keep the waterway open. On my visit to Saint Petersburg I saw them at work.

A few more chunks of ice to go

The icebreaker headed upriver through a clear channel.

Looking downstream to Дворцо́вый мост (Palace Bridge)

Until it encountered the first ice floe.

Heading upriver, the Peter and Paul Fortress in the background

The icebreaker lined up towards the ice.

Manoeuvring towards a large slab of ice

Then charged into it.

Breaking up slabs of ice on the River Neva

Crashing over the top.

Icebreaker mounting a slab of ice

And breaking up the slab.

Bow of the icebreaker breaking through another slab

Which then flowed downstream towards the Gulf of Finland.

Broken up ice flows downstream from Тро́ицкий мост (Trinity Bridge)


The icebreaker I watched was named ‘Минск’ (‘Minsk’) but there is at least one sister vessel – icebreaker ‘Одесса’ (‘Odessa’).

Icebreaker at work beneath Тро́ицкий мост (Trinity Bridge)

While downstream I saw the much larger oceangoing icebreaker ‘Красин’ (Krasin) – now a museum ship.

Icebreaker 'Красин' (Krasin) moored on the River Neva, now a museum ship

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