Vilja has a hybrid propulsion system and a hull that can break 1 m of ice at up to 3 knots in the Port of Luleå, Sweden
New hybrid ice-breaking tug Vilja will make a considerable impact to year-round harbour operations in Sweden. It was built by Gondan Shipbuilders at its shipyard in Ria del Eo, in Spain, as the world’s most powerful hybrid icebreaker tug.
This 36-m tug was completed by Gondan on 9 June and sailed to the Port of Gijón for its sea trials. It was delivered to the owner on 27 June and began its voyage to the Port of Luleå, Sweden, where it will be employed for ship assistance and provide coastal towage in the northern sector of the Gulf of Bothnia.
Vilja will also be used for ice management, fire-fighting and navigation duties in the Port of Luleå.
“Vilja represents the most technologically advanced tug currently in operation,” says Port of Luleå chief executive Henrik Vuorinen. “The hybrid power module will ensure a drastic reduction in emissions, setting new, higher standards for our service, and for the quality of life in the Luleå region.”
Vilja was built to Robert Allan’s TundRA 3600-H design and is certified by Lloyd’s Register. It has a hull structure that exceeds Finnish-Swedish ice-class rules and has high environmental standards. It has a moulded breadth of 13 m and navigational draught of 7 m.
It can break 1 m of ice at up to 3 knots with low emissions. For this, Vilja is equipped with an innovative Wärtsilä’s HYTug hybrid power system that includes two Wärtsilä 26 diesel main engines, shaft generators/motors and batteries for energy storage.
The energy storage system will be automatically recharged by the onboard energy management system. Wärtsilä also supplied the power distribution train and the integrated automation and alarm system.
Vilja has a bollard pull of around 55 tonnes when operating on electrical battery power alone or using a single main engine. This is increased to around 90 tonnes of bollard pull on two engines and 100 tonnes, as tested during sea trials, when battery boost capacity is included.
Vilja’s total propulsion power is around 6,200 kW in hybrid boost mode, when it produces 20% less emissions than a conventional tug of this type and size.
Its hybrid propulsion “results in operational flexibility that yields significant fuel, emissions and maintenance savings,” says designer Robert Allan.
Gondan customised Vilja to operate in the extreme climate conditions it will face in the northern Gulf of Bothnia. The shipbuilders used Cadmatic 3D marine design software for detailed engineering and production design.
Robert Allan says the TundRA series of tug designs were specially developed “for operations in a full range of ice conditions” and are “uniquely designed for each specific ice class and set of operating conditions”.
It has supplied TundRA 3200 designs for two ice-breaking tugs Alfons Håkans ordered from Sanmar Shipyards of Turkey for year-round operations in the northern Baltic Sea. Sanmar held a keel-laying ceremony for the first of these tugs on 19 June 2019. They are expected to enter service in Q4 2020.
Owner: Port of Luleå, Sweden
Builder: Gondan Shipbuilders
Designer: Robert Allan
Design: RAL TundRA 3600-H
Class: Lloyd’s Register
Ice: Finnish-Swedish ice class rules
Performance: break 1 m of ice at 3 knots
Bollard pull: 100 tonnes (battery-boost mode)
Length, oa: 36 m
Breadth, moulded: 13 m
Draught: 7 m
Main engines: 2 x Wärtsilä 26, 3,100 kW each
Hybrid system: Wärtsilä’s HYTug