The Swedish Maritime Administration and the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency have commissioned the Helsinki-headquartered engineering company with designing a new model of more effective, cheaper, and greener icebreakers.
The new vessels will have to create a wider passage (32 m vs. today's 24 m), cost less in operations & maintenance, and run on fossil-free bunker in 2030 the latest.
The €3-4m-worth design contract will have been completed by end-2021, but Aker Arctic Technology will present a concept already next spring, including a cost estimate.
"Icebreakers are crucial for Sweden and Finland. Without them the northern ports would have to be closed for around 130 days per year," Katarina Norén, General Director, the Swedish Maritime Administration, underlined.
To this Kari Wihlman, General Director, the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency, added, "Our foreign trade and competitive position rest on year round safety of deliveries. A reliable icebreaking service is a condition for feedstock and other products to be in the right place at the right time. The design project is expected to incorporate new solutions, so as to meet the changes in the operating environment and to keep a reliable service quality even in the future."
"These new vessels will represent a completely new generation. Since the operational requirements as well as environmental conditions in the Bothnian Bay are changing, we are going to closely work with the Swedish and Finnish operators to jointly develop a solution that will function for a half a century. That's the most demanding design task we as a company have encountered," Reko-Antti Suojanen, CEO, Aker Arctic Technology, said.
The Swedes have five and the Finns nine icebreakers in their fleets. "It will be the cheapest in the long-run to replace all three icebreakers from the 1970s […]. We have made a decision to finance it from the national infrastructure plan - close talks with the government are ongoing on the conditions of doing that," Norén explained.
Aker Arctic Technology has designed Finland's latest icebreaker, the 2016-launched dual-fuel Polaris, built by Arctech Helsinki Shipyard and operated by the state-owned Arctia.
Photo: Wikimedia Commons