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New dual-fuel icebreaker to undergo LNG trials

New dual-fuel icebreaker to undergo LNG trials
A dual-fuel icebreaker, the EUR123m ($140.5m) Polaris, which is currently in the final stages of construction at Russian-owned Arctech Helsinki Shipyard, is due to start LNG-fuelled sea trails in early June.

Built to last for 50 years, the 200-tonne bollard pull vessel will be Finland Transportation Agency’s eighth icebreaker and one of the largest ever built. Built for emergency response and oil spill recovery, the vessel is powered by two 6.5MW stern Azipods and one 6.0MW unit supplied by propulsion company ABB. Although she will operate on LNG most of the time, her diesel engines allow for propulsion flexibility and have a power output of 21MW.

The Finnish-flag vessel, classed by Lloyd’s Register will take on fuel at a new facility currently being built at Vuosaari on Finland’s coast. With 800 cu m of LNG tanks on board, stored vertically amidships, the Polaris will have an endurance of up to 30 days whilst operating on gas in ice-breaking mode.

Arctech Helsinki Shipyard, owned by United Shipbuilding Corporation of Russia since the end of 2014, has a range of ice-classed vessels under construction including a 44,000 dwt condensate carrier and two ice-breaking offshore supply ships in the covered construction hall which will operate on the Yamal offshore oil field off north-west Russia.

Altogether, 27 ice-classed ships are being built for operation in or through the western region of the North West Passage. Navigation through these waters has dramatic implications for shipping because safe navigation through the Passage could dramatically reduce voyage times between Asia and Europe.

Ice-class vessels currently under construction include 15 LNG tankers of 170,000 cu m built under construction at Daewoo for Sovcomflot and other Russian owners, six Arctic tankers being built at Samsung Heavy Industries, two 44,000 dwt condensate carriers – one being built at Arctech Helsinki and a close sister in China – two ice-breaking offshore support vessels, and two ice-breaking tugs for port operation on the Yamal project.