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ABB to upgrade 38 year old Canadian icebreaker

Written by Nick Blenkey
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APRIL 22, 2016 — ABB is to modernize a Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker, installing the latest hardware and software onboard the 38 year old Pierre Radisson under a C$3 million contract awarded in February.

In winter, the Pierre Radisson breaks ice and escorts ships in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and on the St. Lawrence and Saguenay Rivers. In summer, the ship travels to the Canadian Arctic to escort commercial ships, serve as a primary search and rescue unit and provide support to scientific missions when possible.

The contract includes the option to modernize two other two Canadian Coast Guard ships, Des Groseilliers and Amundsen, both of which have clocked up more than 30 years of service.

As part of the complete upgrade to the Radisson’s power distribution system, eight new drives will be installed.

The vessel will also be equipped to benefit from ABB’s Remote Diagnostic Service. By installing sensors on onboard equipment, ABB engineers can help diagnose problems on the vessel from shore. The vessel will also be upgraded with automation hardware and propulsion control software.

Juha Koskela, Managing Director of ABB’s Marine and Ports business unit, said, “When this vessel was constructed in 1978 most of the world was not even aware of the internet. However, by utilizing ABB’s concept of the ‘Internet of Things, Services and People’ we will bring this vessel up to date. We have had great success in reducing our customer’s vessel downtime and maintenance cost through our Remote Diagnostic Service.”

The vessel’s current power system is in its 38th year of use and the installation of the new drives will allow the Radisson to spend more time at sea.

The CCGS Pierre Radisson currently has an AC/DC Diesel-Electric propulsion system made up of two almost identical independent systems. Each system has a direct current (DC) electric motor connected directly to its propeller.
The upgrade will maintain the existing control principles of having 6 AC alternators with rectifiers to supply DC to the motors through DC breakers and contactors.

Jyri Jusslin, Senior Vice President of marine service at ABB said, “We have decades of experience of working with icebreakers – both new builds and modernizations like this. We also have a long track record of working with both AC and DC systems and we are delighted the Canadian Coast Guard recognizes ABB as a reliable partner.”

Design and supply work is scheduled to begin immediately and installation and commissioning is expected to be finished by June 2017.

Nathalie Pilon, Canadian Country Managing Director for ABB, said, “This is an important order for ABB. Public and private investment is flourishing in the icebreaking segment across the globe we are at the forefront of this trend. We are delighted the Government of Canada has selected ABB to support Canadian Coast Guard in this important project.”

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