Where are Icebreakers Used?

Given their specific purpose of travelling through ice-covered waters, icebreaker ships are mostly used in the coldest areas of the globe, which include Antarctica and the Arctic Ocean.

Accordingly, the countries with the largest fleet of Icebreakers are those who also have large ice-covered territories. These Include Russia, U.S.A, Canada, Finland, Sweden and Germany.

In fact, the first three countries in this list also operate four of the five largest icebreakers in the world.

Top Icebreaker Fleets in the World

In 2010, The U.S. Coast Guard created the first list of the major icebreakers of the world. According to their list, the countries with the largest icebreaker fleets are Russia, Finland and Sweden.


Russia is by far the largest operator of icebreakers in the world today, with an astounding fleet of 37 icebreaker ships, and several more either planned or already under construction.

Russia is also the owner of the world’s largest, most powerful icebreaker in the world (as of 2011), the NS 50 Let Pobedy. This Russian Arktika class nuclear-powered icebreaker is 524 ft long and designed to break through ice up to 2.8 meters thick


Icebreaker in Lapland: Sweden and Finland

Up north in the bothnian sea all the ports freeze during the winter time. because of the Geographical position the industries rely very much on the marine transportation. Marine group in Sweden play a biggest role of keeping the winter ports open during the winter time. For that use they have fleet of Arctic Icebreaker such as polar Explorer and Arctic Explorer. That sailing on Swedish Lapland. Icebreaker sampo located on the Finnish side in Kemi and mainly for tourist use.

Sweden and Finland, each with a fleet of 7 icebreakers, both hold the place of second largest fleet of icebreakers in the world. While certainly not the largest countries on the list, both have a great need for these ships due to their location and weather conditions which require a great deal of icebreaking capabilities.

Given their high price and relatively specific purpose, most icebreakers are owned by governments such as Sampo icebreaker. However, in recent years, with the blooming popularity of arctic cruises, you can find more and more privately owned icebreakers, such as the Polar Explorer icebreaker, offering tourists a chance to explore the icy waters on an Arctic Cruise with Arctic icebreaker.

You can find shuttle bus transportation from Rovaniemi, Kemi and Levi.