Unusual Icebreaker Design

gCaptain and MarineLog are reporting a very odd icebreaker concept developed by Finland’s Aker Arctic. I think it may be worth reading both, since their emphasis is a bit different.

You look at it and the ship is very much asymmetrical. Unlike other icebreakers, which break a channel little larger than the beam of the ship, this design is intended to break a wider channel by orienting the ship obliquely relative to the direction of movement. The gCaptain article illustrates this best. They also plan to use this oblique orientation to sweep up pollutants.

The Aker Arctic concept is intended for breaking first year ice rather than multi-year Arctic ice. It is a medium size ship, 98m long, 3200tons, much closer to the Mackinaw than the projected polar icebreaker.  This concept is probably not applicable to the new polar icebreaker, but it might be useful for a USCGC Katmai Bay (WTGB-101) Class replacement, since it would allow a single relatively small ship to clear a channel for much larger ships.

New Finnish and Norwegian OPVs powered by LNG

Finnish Border Guards are procuring an new class of Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV). It is fairly large at 96 meters long and 17 meters beam (315’x56′) and ice strengthened, but the most unique aspect of the design is that it is designed to use both conventional diesel and Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) as fuel. Picture and more here.

The Norwegians are also planning duel fueled OPVs, three ships of the slightly smaller Barentshav Class.

Descriptions seem to indicate that while the Norwegian ships have separate engines for diesel and LNG, the engines on the Finnish ship apparently will be able to burn either diesel or LNG.

Not only is LNG more environmentally friendly, the US is well endowed with natural gas.

Piracy update–April 15, 2011

The first quarter of 2011 saw record numbers of pirate attacks, 142 of which 97 of the attacks (70%) occurred off the coast of Somalia, up from 35 in the same period last year. Attackers seized 18 vessels worldwide, including three big tankers, and captured 344 crew members. Pirates murdered seven crew members and injured 34 during the quarter.

But there have been some potentially important developments.

For the first time The FBI has indicted one of the men behind the pirates after capturing him in Somalia.  “Mohammad Saaili Shibin, a/k/a “Khalif Ahmed Shibin,” a/k/a “Shibin,” of Somalia, was indicted on March 8, 2011, by a federal grand jury in Norfolk, Va., in association with the alleged pirating of an American yacht, the S/V Quest, and taking hostage four U.S. citizens, who were ultimately killed before their release could be secured. The indictment remained sealed until Shibin made a court appearance on April 13, 2011. Fourteen co-conspirators were indicted the same day and are awaiting a jury trial currently scheduled to begin on Nov. 29, 2011.”

Where to imprison pirates has been problematic for most countries leading to a “catch and release” approach, but the UN is working with elements in Somalia to open three prisons for convicted pirates. One is open now and two more are planned, but the new prison will only accept pirates from Somaliland, the most stable of three regions in Somalia. The second prison is planned for Puntaland, location of the third has not been chosen. The UN Security Council is also looking for ways to set up Somali courts to try those accused of piracy.

Operationally there has also been some good news.https://chuckhillscgblog.files.wordpress.com/2011/04/800px-esbern_snare_baltops_2010c.jpg?w=300

April 2, the Danish Navy command and support ship HDMS Esbern Snare, 6,300 tons (right) stopped aFile:Minelayer Pohjanmaa Suomenlinna 6.JPGnd boarded a Iranian F/V being used as a pirate mother-ship, freeing 18 hostages and taking 15 suspected pirates into custody after a firefight that result in the wounding of three suspected pirates.


The Finnish Navy minelayer and command ship FNS Pohjanmaa, 1,450 tons (left), seized a Dhow that was being used as a pirate mother ship on April 6 and after an investigation, destroyed it on April 9. 18 suspected pirates were detained. Continue reading