Nuclear power for merchant ships?

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December 16, 2010

Helsinki shipyard to build two icebreaking supply vessels for Sovcomflot

Russia's Sovcomflot has ordered two Multifunctional Icebreaking Supply Vessels (MIBSV) from Arctech Helsinki Shipyard Oy, the 50/50 joint venture formed last week by STX Finland and United Shipbuilding Corporation. The order is worth $200 million and the project will start immediately.

The new vessels will be delivered from Helsinki shipyard during spring 2013.

They are being built for operation in the Sakhalin-1 Arkutun-Dagi gas field where they will be used as supply vessels for Exxon Neftegas Limited's platform. Both vessels will be similar, measuring 99.2 m in length and 21.7 m in breadth. Their four engines have the total power of 18,000 kW and the propulsion power of 13,000 kW.

These vessels are designed for extreme environmental conditions on the Sakhalin area. They will be operating in thick drifting ice in temperatures as cold as minus 35 Cū. The main purpose for these vessels is to supply the gas production platform and to protect it from the ice. The icebreaking capability of the vessels is extremely high, they are able to operate independently in 1.7 meter thick ice.

As multipurpose vessels, these vessels are capable of carrying various type of cargo and they are equipped for oil spill response, fire fighting, and rescue operations. The rescue capacity is for 195 persons.

"This is a significant breakthrough into the currently very active Russian arctic icegoing ship markets. I am especially happy to see that the customer is Sovcomflot. As Sovcomflot already has in their fleet a very similar supply vessel, delivered 2005 by STX Finland, we can only consider this order as a sign of confidence from their side" said Mr.Juha Heikinheimo, President of STX Finland.

The new projects will offer work for 1,000 man-years. "There is significant potential for arctic icegoing and ice breaking vessels in Russia for Arctech Helsinki Shipyard Oy, where we hope to be able to utilize our world-class arctic technology experience combined with the Russian shipbuilding and ship operation expertise," noted Mr. Heikinheimo.

Finnish shipyards have a long history of building icegoing vessels and of supplying specialist vessels to Russia. The STX Finland shipyards have a long history of building different kinds of icegoing vessels. Approximately 60 percent of the world's operational icebreakers today were built in Finland. The 1,500 special vessels built for Russia include almost all its conventionally powered icebreakers and two Taimyr class nuclear-powered icebreakers (the nuclear plant was installed in Russian shipyards).

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