Sovcomflot, a Russia-based shipping firm, has secured credit worth $160m to build two new ice-breaking supply vessels.

The company has signed a 12-year export credit facility with Finnvera, Finnish Export Credit and ING Bank to finance the construction.

Both vessels, ‘Vitus Bering’ and ‘Aleksey Chirikov’, are currently being built at Arctech Helsinki Shipyard, a joint venture of OAO United Shipbuilding and STX Finland.

Each vessel will have a length of 99.2m and breadth of 21.7m, and both are scheduled to be delivered by spring 2013.

The vessels will provide year-round services to the oil platform at the Arkutun-Dagi offshore oilfield, part of the Sakhalin-I project, under a long-term charter agreement with Exxon Neftegas.

The vessels will be equipped with four engines with a total power of 18,000kW, enabling them to operate in thick drifting ice in temperatures as cold as -35°C.

Sovcomflot senior executive vice-president and chief financial officer Nikolai Kolesnikov said the agreement with Finnish Export Credit and its parent firm Finnvera, which was arranged by the company’s long-standing financial partner ING Bank, is the third international financing deal for the company in 2012.

"It further strengthens the group’s liquidity position and, despite the challenging conditions of the global financial and shipping markets, enables us to address all our key upcoming financial requirements," Kolesnikov said.

In June 2012, Citibank, Bank of America (BAC), Merrill Lynch and Sovcomflot signed a $140m, seven-year loan agreement to finance two VLCC tankers currently under construction.

Scheduled to be delivered in 2013, the vessels will operate on long-term charter with PetroChina International, a subsidiary of China National Petroleum (CNPC).

Sovcomflot has also signed a $700m, seven-year credit facility with a consortium of eight international banks.

Under the terms of the deal, the loan will be used for refinancing the group’s existing bank debt and for other corporate purposes.