SEPTEMBER 28, 2016—While the U.S. is still years away from building a new heavy icebreaker for its fleet, the Finnish Transport Agency took delivery today of the I/B Polaris, first icebreaker capable of burning LNG as fuel from Arctech Helsinki Shipyard.
Arctech Helsinki Shipyard Managing Director Esko Mustamäki says the Polaris “can operate in all ice conditions in the Baltic Sea and use in all circumstances either gas or diesel oil as fuel. We are proud we had this opportunity to build the vessel that will serve the Finnish winter navigation in coming decades.”
The 110m x 24.4m Polaris is a prototype vessel that is designed to serve for at least 50 years in icebreaking, oil recovery and sea rescue operations.
Following delivery, the Finnish Transport Agency handed the vessel over to Arctia Icebreaking Oy, A Finnish state-owned company that operates a fleet of vessels that provide icebreaking services. Besides the Polaris, Arctia Icebreaking Oy operates three multipurpose icebreakers, one oil spill recovery icebreaker, three 113-ton bollard pull icebreakers, and one harbor icebreaker and towing vessel. The newest oceangoing icebreakers in the fleet, the Fennica and Nordica—two 230-ton bollard pull icebreakers—were both delivered in 1993.
Showcase of Finnish maritime expertise
The 9,300 grt Polaris is a showcase of Finnish design innovation and shipbuilding expertise. Innovative design is used for the vessel’s hull form and propulsion unit arrangement, and the vessel is able to burn either liquefied natural gas (LNG) or low sulfur diesel oil as fuel.
Classed ice class PC4 by Lloyd’s Register, the Polaris is equipped with three ABB Azipod propulsion units two 6,500 kW units in the stern and one 6,000 kW unit in the bow.
The diesel-electric propulsion system includes two Wartsila 6,000 kW engines and one 1,280 kW dual fuel engine. The two LNG tanks have a capacity of 400 m3 each. It has a speed up to 17 knots and can break 1.8m of ice at speed of 3.5 knots. The shipyard says the Polaris will be able to move continuously through about 1.6 meter thick level ice, to break a 25-meter wide channel in 1.2 meter thick ice at speed of 6 knots.
Polaris complies with the IMO Tier III emission standards and the regulations for the Baltic Sea Sulfur Emission Control Area (SECA).