Canadian company Fednav Limited, one of the world’s largest operators of high ice-class vessels, has recently agreed to a long term transportation contract with mining company Canadian Royalties Inc. for the shipping of concentrates from the Nunavik Nickel mine in northern Quebec. This new contract has prompted Fednav to order an additional ship to their fleet, one similar to the Umiak I, an ice-class vessel capable of operating in the high latitudes of northern Canada.
The new Polar Class 4 ship, a 25,000 tonne ice-breaking bulk carrier, will be designed and built in Japan by Universal Shipbuilding Corporation and DNV-classed. It will meet stringent design and operational requirements including a reinforced hull to allow it to proceed in continuous mode through level ice up to 1.5 metres thick. The scheduled delivery date is December 2013.
Rolls-Royce announced today they have won the order to supply a 6.5 metre diameter, ice-classed nickel aluminium bronze Kamewa propeller for Fednav’s new vessel. It will weigh 45 tonnes and be powered by a 21.7MW, (or 29,000 horsepower) diesel engine.
The propeller will be mounted inside a steel nozzle, to give protection from floating blocks of ice while increasing thrust as the ship pushes its way through the ice. When travelling through open water, the ship uses a third of its power to travel at 13 knots, but when breaking through thick ice, it needs all available power to maintain a speed of three knots.
Neil Gilliver, Rolls-Royce, President – Merchant said: “We are delighted that Fednav has again selected our high-strength propeller for operating through what must be one of the toughest shipping routes in the world. Our ice-class technology is enabling our customers to operate all year round in the transportation of valuable cargoes to their global markets.
“Fednav has a proven track record in this specialised type of operation and we look forward to working together during the construction and entry into service of this unique and very powerful ship.”
Fednav already operates the world’s most powerful ice-breaking bulk carrier Umiak I, which regularly has to contend with the most rugged Arctic conditions including hard packed shear ice and icebergs. Like the new ship, the Umiak I is fitted with a Rolls-Royce controllable pitch propeller that enables the captain to quickly change direction which is essential when ramming the ice is required.
Controllable pitch propellers differ from fixed pitch designs by enabling a ship to change speed or direction without having to reverse the rotational direction or speed of the propeller and engine, giving enhanced manoeuvrability while improving fuel efficiency.