MarineLog reports the delivery of the world’s first Icebreaker capable of running on LNG. It does appear that its capabilities using LNG alone may be limited. “The diesel-electric propulsion system includes two Wartsila 6,000 kW engines and one 1,280 kW dual fuel engine.” If, as it appears, only the 1,280 kW engine can use LNG.
I found the size of the Finnish icebreaker fleet interesting.
“Following delivery, the Finnish Transport Agency handed the vessel over to Arctia Icebreaking Oy, A Finnish state-owned company that operates a fleet of vessels that provide icebreaking services. Besides the Polaris, Arctia Icebreaking Oy operates three multipurpose icebreakers, one oil spill recovery icebreaker, three 113-ton bollard pull icebreakers, and one harbor icebreaker and towing vessel. The newest oceangoing icebreakers in the fleet, the Fennica and Nordica—two 230-ton bollard pull icebreakers—were both delivered in 1993.”
Note, the range and endurance required of these icebreakers is closer to what we think of as domestic icebreakers rather than polar icebreakers, but still an impressive fleet.
ARCTECH has completed the World’s first LNG powered (dual fuel capable, low sulfur diesel or LNG) icebreaker, NB501 Polaris, for the Finnish Transport Agency, and it is currently in sea trials.
The vessel will be able to move continuously through about 1.6 meter thick level ice, to break a 25 meter wide channel in 1.2 meter thick ice at speed of 6 knots, as well as to reach 9…11 knots of average assistance speed in the demanding icebreaking conditions in the Baltic Sea. In open water the service speed will be 16 knots.
Reportedly “It will also be able to perform oil spill response operations, emergency towing and rescue operations.”
Its dimensions are 110x24x8 meters or 361x79x26 feet. Its propulsion comes from three azimuthing propulsors totaling 19kW or about 25,500 HP. Specs here (pdf).
Crew requirements are tiny at 16.
With a 30 day endurance, it does not have the range the Coast Guard needs for Polar Operations, but with 180% more horsepower than the Mackinaw, it would make a great Great Lakes icebreaker. The US certainly has a lot of LNG. Would be good for the environment too. (Of course it would have to be built in the US, but using a foreign design is not a problem for the Coast Guard.)
We have some indication, we will soon see LNG being shipped in the Arctic. gCaptain reports an apparent intention of a Chinese/Greek consortium to build five ice capable LNG tankers for the transport of Russian LNG via the Arctic.
If these ships actually use an Arctic route to China, it will almost certainly be via the Northern Sea Route close to Russia rather than the North West Passage near Canada and the US, but both routes must exit very close to Alaska as the traffic moves through the 45 mile wide Bering Strait and past the Diomedes and St. Lawrence Island.
There is no indication of how large these proposed LNG tankers are, but take a look at the size of the tanks on this LNG tanker in this photo, one of several you can find at this gCaptain post.