Ponant’s icebreaker cruise ship is the first cruise ship to be built on the double-acting principle, its technical designer Aker Arctic told PST.
Ponant’s Le Commandant Charcot, currently being built at Vard shipyard and due to be delivered in 2021, is the world’s first cruise ship to be built to PC2-class as an icebreaker. It is also the first expedition cruise ship to use dual-fuel LNG.
Aker Arctic sales manager and master mariner Jukka Salminen said “It is the heaviest diesel-electric icebreaker in the world for the time being.” He was speaking to PST at a joint-industry event held by Aker Arctic, Deltamarin and Norsepower in London.
Highlighting some of the challenges he said “There are different rules when thinking about passenger vessels compared to cargo vessels, like passenger comfort, safety and safe return to port.” He said the challenge is that in the Poles there are little in way of rescue, repair yard facilities or ports.
“We tested the harshest ice conditions in our own ice tank,” he said, with a conclusion being that the vessel can safely navigate in the polar regions and also return to port with just a single thruster.
It is equipped with two PC2 class ABB 17-megawatt twin Azipods, giving 34 megawatts of total propulsion power.
Mr Salminen said “It has a very stunning icebreaking performance bow ahead with an icebreaking performance of 2.5 m.” The vessel is built on the double-acting principle, meaning that in heavier ice conditions it can navigate stern first
. This is the first time the double-acting principle has been used in a cruise ship.
He explained “The double-acting principle was initially designed for oil tankers in early 1990s which were built for the Gulf of Finland.”
In a tanker the bow can be designed as the optimum bow for open water while the stern is designed for icebreaking. “The bow is more open water friendly as a conventional icebreaker to avid slamming and resistance, while the icebreaking is done by the stern,” Mr Salminen said. Using the stern as the icebreaker boosts passenger comfort.
Expanding on the cruise ship’s icebreaking capabilities, Mr Salminen said “The double-acting principle combined with the moving thrusters which will lubricate the hull and reduce friction… therefore better ice performance.”
The double-acting principle means there are two bridges, as one is needed for navigating stern-first.
Commenting on the use of LNG, he said “Green values are important when operating in a fragile environment, Ponant wanted as green a vessel as possible so LNG was chosen as a primary source, with low sulphur fuel oil.”
The vessel will also use batteries to provide the hotel load when it has stopped to observe something of interest, allowing the main engines to be turned off and the vessel to be silent, with no vibration.