State-owned Finnish polar services company Arctia has tested the oil-recovery capabilities of its LNG-powered icebreaker Polaris at sea for the first time.
Integrated equipment tested in the exercise, which forms part of Arctia’s autumn testing schedule of its icebreaker fleet, included Polaris’ skimmer and collection booms.
Built at Arctech Helsinki shipyard in 2016, Polaris was the first LNG-powered icebreaker in the world when it entered service in 2017. It has an ice class of PC4.
The vessel measures 110 m in length by 24 m in breadth with an operational draught of 8 m. It has a Wärtsilä package of two 6,000 kW, two 4,500 kW and one 1,280 kW dual-fuel engines and is fitted with three ABB Azipod propulsion units. The Lamor oil recovery system means Polaris can collect 1,015 m3 of oil at a rate of 200 m3 per hour in bad weather and ice conditions.
Polaris’ LNG propulsion can support the slow speeds – usually close to 2 knots – required for successful oil recovery in open sea. The vessel’s manoeuvrability also helps, as sideways operation enables the entire side of the vessel to be used to direct oil into the collection tank in rough water.
Arctia’s communications manager Eero Hokkanen explained the logic behind equipping icebreakers to work as oil recovery vessels, noting that such preparations “would be sensible in order to safeguard a sufficient level of oil recovery preparedness in the Gulf of Finland and the entire northern Baltic Sea.”