Gondan delivers world’s most powerful 36 m hybrid icebreaking tug

Written by Nick Blenkey
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Tug delivered 98 t bollard pull on tests

The Port of Luleå, Sweden, has taken delivery of the 36 meter hybrid icebreaker tug Vilja from Spanish shipbuilder Astilleros Gondan.

Vilja is a TundRA 3600–H, icebreaking escort tug designed by Robert Allan Ltd. to Ice Class 1A Super and is capable of breaking 1 m of ice at up to 3 knots, making it the most powerful hybrid/electric icebreaking escort tug of its size, according to Robert Allan.

On trials, the Vilja met or exceeded performance expectations with the following results:

  • Bollard pull: 89 metric tonnes in mechanical mode; 98 metric tonnes in boost mode
  • Free running speed, ahead: 14.6 knots

The tug has a hull structure that exceeds Finnish-Swedish ice-class strength requirements and was built to the highest environmental standards. It will be used for ice management, firefighting and navigation aids service duties in the Port of Luleå and will assist ships and conduct coastal towing in the northern sector of the Gulf of Bothnia.

Vilja is equipped with an innovative hybrid propulsion system featuring diesel main engines, shaft motor/generators, and electrical battery energy storage. This configuration allows effective power and fuel consumption management. The tug is capable of operating on the battery power only or utilizing a single main engine in the hybrid diesel-electrical mode, or on two main engines in diesel-mechanical mode with possible battery boost. The resulting operational flexibility yields significant fuel, emissions and maintenance savings.

Main propulsion is a hybrid configuration with in-line shaft motor generators (M/Gs) and comprises a pair of Wärtsilä 8L26 diesel engines, each rated at 2,720 kW at 1,000 rpm, and each driving a Rolls-Royce US355 controllable pitch Z-drive unit, rated 3,100 kW at 1,000 rpm. The additional boost is provided by two shaft motor/generators, and electrical battery energy storage.

The tug is the first vessel equipped with the Wärtsilä HY hybrid power module. The module provides optimal power management and smokeless operation.

The vessel’s accommodations are outfitted to high MLC compliant standards for a normal operating crew of 3 to 6 crew. The Master and Chief Engineer cabins are located on the main deck with three single crew cabins located in the lower accommodations. All cabins are equipped with second pullman bed for maximum of 10 personnel in total.

Vilja has been equipped with Ibercisa forward escort and aft towing winches and a Palfinger Harbour duty crane.

A Brunvoll RIM driven tunnel thruster has been installed in the skeg for enhanced maneuverability.

The electrical plant comprises two Caterpillar C7.4 diesel gensets each with a power output of 118 ekW.

Ship handling fenders consists of a 900 x 500 mm cylindrical fender with 500 x 360 mm “W” block fendering below at the bow and the stern. A 350 x 350 hollow “D” fender provides protection at the main deck sheer line and along the knuckle.

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