Aker Arctic to develop next generation icebreaker design for Finland and Sweden
A contract for the production of new icebreakers for challenging Baltic Sea escort operations has been signed by Aker Arctic Technology Inc, the Swedish Maritime Administration (SMA) and the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency (FTIA).
Aker Arctic says it will develop an icebreaker concept for the next decade which can support larger merchant ships, implement the latest environmental technology, and plan for potential fossil-free fuels.
As the operational environment shifts, the focus is on seeking ways to sustain the quality of service. The size of merchant vessels entering Finnish and Swedish ports is growing and increasing environmental requirements are increasingly reducing the vessels' engine capacity.
In challenging ice conditions in the Baltic Sea, the increasing size of vessels that need assistance and the weakening of their ability to handle ice-covered waters make it hard for vessels to move through ice masses, which increases the need for icebreaker assistance.
“Our foreign trade and competitiveness are based on year-round security of supply. The stocks of import and export logistics are largely located in moving ships. An adequate level of assistance available from icebreakers is a prerequisite for ensuring that the raw materials and different products are in the right place at the right time," says Kari Wihlman, Director-General of the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency.
The design process begins with research and assessment on possible designs for icebreakers. To be able to support ships with a beam of 32 m, a new icebreaker is needed.
Important priorities are also cost-effective activities, low life-cycle prices, the transition to fossil-free energy by 2030 and the reduction of CO2 emissions.
When the first cost estimate for the icebreaker construction is available, a design will be chosen in March. After that, the attention will be on the design specifics and building requirements, which will form the basis of the tendering process for the shipyard until a decision is taken to build the icebreakers.
Maritime Business World