If you start looking at photographs of icebreakers, then sooner or later you will surely pay attention to the fact that some strange and mysterious "beard" lies at the stern of some of them. She looks, as a rule, not very nice and tidy. It would be logical to assume that this thing is by no means superfluous and is needed to fulfill a specific goal. The truth is to understand right away the majority of people who are not involved in the ice-drifting theme. can hardly guess.
To begin with, many comrades, in principle, do not know about the main purpose of most icebreaking ships. So, the fact is that the most important task of icebreakers is to help ships that are held hostage in the ice. When the ship freezes into the ice, an icebreaker is sent to its rescue, which breaks through the icebergs, takes the stuck in tow and further breaks through to free water with him. In this case, the injured ship clings to the icebreaker from behind, in fact, in the same way as the drivers connect two cars.
A special system of levers, ropes and cables is used to connect the icebreaker and the smaller vessel. The most commonly used "rigid hitch". Of course, during towing, the speed of the icebreaker can change. As a rule, it falls when passing the most difficult sections. At such moments, a ship attached to a tug can easily hit the stern of its rescuer by inertia, which in turn can easily lead to damage of varying severity.
Especially in order to prevent the latter from happening, the same mysterious "beard" is installed at the stern of the icebreaker. This thing is called "fender protection". It comes in different shapes and thicknesses, in particular, there are options when, in addition to the airbag, the fender protection also creates a special recess, a cutout under the nose of the towed ship for better shock absorption in a collision.
Fender protection is created from cables of different thicknesses. The pillow is stuffed with marine cables made of metal, synthetics and plant material. From constant blows, the fender protection of the icebreaker gradually deteriorates, the cables spread and climb out. As a result, the ship's crew is forced to periodically repair the airbag, and often this should be done right during the voyage.
If you want to know even more interesting things, then you should read about 11 largest ships in the world, whose size is comparable to floating cities.