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Icebreaker Oden


Oden at the entrance of the Petermann Fjord in 2015. Photo: Martin Jakobsson

Oden is one of the world’s most powerful icebreakers. Even on the drawing board, the icebreaker was being prepared for research work in polar regions. Oden has continued to be adapted for research tasks, and is currently one of the premier platforms for research in polar oceans.

Working in cooperation since 1991, the Swedish Polar Research Secretariat and the Swedish Maritime Administration have regularly conducted research expeditions using Oden in polar regions. On 7 September 1991, the icebreaker became the first non-nuclear-powered vessel to reach the North Pole, and since then, Oden has been to the North Pole on seven more occasions. This icebreaker has also served in Antarctica for five seasons under the auspices of a cooperative Swedish-U.S. research arrangement.

Oden’s extensive flexibility, with research containers, scientific laboratories, and deep ocean winches, enables researchers in many different disciplines to use the vessel based on their particular needs. The vessel has been used with great success in marine geology, oceanography, ecological research, and atmospheric research in the Arctic and Antarctica.

Folder about the icebreaker Oden (1,3 MB)

General information

Built: 1988 by Götaverken AB, Arendal, Gothenburg
Delivered: January 1989
Home port: Luleå
Owner: Sjöfartsverket
Ice class: GL 100 A5 ARC3

Call sign: SMLQ
IMO number: 8700876
MMSI number: 265182000

Length o.a.: 107,75 m
Beam: 31,2 m
Air draft: 42,5 m
Draft: 8,5 m
Displacement: 13 000 t

Technical data

Main engines: 4×8 cylinder Sulzer ZA 40S
Total power: 24 500 hp
Auxiliary engines: 4×6 cylinder Sulzer AT 25 H (1,200 kW each)
Emergency generator: 1 Cummins KTA-38G2 600 kW


Speed in open sea: 11 kn (max speed 16 kn)
Ice breaking capability: 1,9 m level ice at 3 kn
Endurance: 27 000 NM/100 days in open sea
Crew: <22
Heavy fuel oil: 3 380 m3
Diesel: 990 m3
Lubricating oil: 100 m3
Fresh water: 310 m3
Ballast water: 3 650 m3
Fresh water generator: 20 m3/dygn

Deck Equipment

Towing Winch: 150 tonnes towing pull, brake holding 300 tonnes
A-Frame: 15 tonnes
Crane on Aft Deck: 10 tonnes at 10 m radius
Sky Lift on Forward Deck: Hook load 1.5 tonnes in basket
Container Capacity: 40 TEU, containers can be connected to ship’s system, such as electricity, communication, water, sewage
Moon Pool: For drilling operations
Helicopter deck, large aft deck

Odens skrovtjocklek
Oden’s hull is 48 mm thick in the bow and stern.

Read the Swedish Maritime Administration’s fact sheet on icebreaker Oden

Other vessels

Several other vessels have been chartered by the Swedish Polar Research Secretariat and used as expeditionary ships: 50 Let Pobedy (LOMROG), Louis S. St-Laurent (Tundra Northwest 1999), SA Agulhas (SWEDARP 1997/98), Polar Queen, now called Ernest Shackleton (SWEDARP 1996/97), and Akademik Fedorov (SWEDARP 1991/92, Tundra Ecology -94 and SWEDARP 1999/2000 and 2002/03).


The Swedish Polar Research Secretariat and Swedish Research Council have established a shared roadmap for support to research projects in polar regions outside Sweden.