JULY 31, 2012 — While the U.S. struggles to find funding to renew the Coast Guard's aging icebreaker assets, China is pressing ahead with plans to build to build an advanced new icebreaking research vessel to meet the increased need of polar scientific research. The new vessel will be equipped with advanced scientific equipment for polar oceans research. The integrated survey systems include marine geological and geophysical equipment, marine biological and ecological instruments. Helicopters with associated systems will also be provided. The vessel will have marine and atmospheric observing and sampling capabilities closely related with climate change monitoring. Marine geological and geophysical capabilities will give possibilities for seasonal polar marine geology, marine gravity, magnetic and seismic surveys. The vessel may also be used also for the Antarctic station supplies logistics.
Aker Arctic has been selected to perform the conceptual and basic design for the ship under a Euros 5 million contract.
The icebreaker for China will be designed to accommodate a total of 90 persons and will have a length over all of about 120 meters, a maximum breadth of 22.3 m and draft of 8,5 m. The vessel will have the ability to break through 1.5 m of level ice at 2 to 3 knots speed, including multi-year ice. The vessel will be fitted with twin azimuthing propeller drives. Ice class will be PC3 and the vessel will have dual classification from the China Classification Society (CCS) and Lloyd's Register of Shipping (LR).
The design time is expected to take 7 months to complete. The design package will then be provided to a design company or shipyard that will be responsible for the detailed design and workshop drawings of the vessel.
"After sustained effort, the State Oceanic Administration (SOA) and Aker Arctic Technology Inc. agree on all the basic design requirements of the new Polar Research Vessel for China and have signed the contract today," said Mr. Qu Tanzhou, Director General, of the SOA's Chinese Arctic and Antarctic Administration. "This contract is very important for solving the increasing needs of polar scientific research. As the first polar scientific research icebreaker for China, its successful design and build will not only push forward our polar scientific research career by achieving more successes, but also will make great development on Chinese ship construction industry."
"The award is a significant milestone for the Finnish icebreaker design and construction expertise", says Mikko Niini, Managing Director of Aker Arctic Technology Inc, the specialist ship design and R & D company in Finland. "Working currently already for the Canadian John F. Diefenbaker polar icebreaker, this contract in China is a clear evidence of our global role in the development of advanced Arctic technologies and solutions.