The Arctic is melting! Time to order more Ice breakers.

Politico penned an article with the title “Finland finds global warming’s upside.”

“The country’s icebreaker business is booming as the shrinking ‘ice cap’ (sic) opens up new opportunities.”

This is the official line, the shrinking Arctic ice sheet. A more realistic assessment is the increasing oil ans gas exploration by the Russians, and the desire to open up the North East Passage for oil and gas export for a longer season.

Finland has been making ice-breakers for a very long time. The Northern Baltic freezes over and on cold years there is no ice free harbor in Finland in February.

When Finland was under economic treaties with the Soviet Union after WWII the major export from Finland to Russia was ice breakers.

This reminds me of an anecdote from that time.

The Russian Government had ordered a large ice breaker, and before building is started they go over the drawings with the Finnish contractors. The Russians notice a room named Sauna. “What is that for?” they ask. The Finns explain: “We always have a Sauna on a ship this size to keep the crew sane, healthy and happy.” ” And how do you use it?” the Russians asked. “Well, you heat up the Sauna to as hot as you can stand it, and then everybody sit in it naked until they can take it no more,  then run out and jump into ice cold water for about one minute, and so they feel good for the rest of the day,” the Finns answered. The Russians looked bewildered and said: “You really do that? You mean, mixing officers with regular crew?  We must have two Saunas, one for the officers and one for the crew.” So the Finns added an Officers Sauna to the plans, built the ice breaker, and at the inspection the Russians reacted in horror. “What?, the crew and the officers have identical saunas with the same wooden benches? You must make the officer’s sauna more prestigious!” So the Finns copper clad the benches in the officers sauna!

I have no idea if the story is true, but I get this sizzling feeling from the bottom of my seat every time I think of it.

 

Published by

lenbilen

Engineer, graduated from Chalmers Technical University a long time ago with a degree in Technical Physics. Career in Aerospace, Analytical Chemistry, and chip manufacturing. Presently adjunct faculty at PSU, teaching one course in Computer Engineering, the Capstone Course.

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