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The world’s first LNG-powered icebreaker entered service Tuesday commencing a contract with the Finnish Transport Agency providing icebreaking, vessel assistance, and oil spill response services in the Baltic Sea.
The Polaris was delivered in September by Finnish shipyard Arctech Helsinki to Arctia Ltd, another Finnish company specializing in marine icebreaking, offshore, and oil recovery. Polaris is the first icebreaker ever built that is capable of running on both liquefied natural gas (LNG) and ultra-low-sulphur diesel, making it the most environmentally friendly diesel-electric icebreaker anywhere in the world. With a total output of about 22 MW, it is also Finland’s most powerful icebreaker to date.
The vessel was designed under the supervision of the Finnish Transport Agency to be used for icebreaking and vessel assistance in ice conditions, oil spill response operations, and emergency towing and rescue operations in the Baltic Sea for a period of 50 years.
“Polaris represents a new generation of icebreakers,” says Tero Vauraste, President and CEO of Arctia Ltd., the owner and operator of IB Polaris. “Arctia supports the proposed ban on the use of heavy fuel oil in the Arctic. The use of LNG and the vessel’s built-in oil recovery system are the future of cost effective multipurpose icebreakers. We are proud to be the owner of the world’s most environmentally friendly icebreaker, which will safeguard our customers’ winter transport needs in the Baltic Sea.”
Polaris is the eighth icebreaker in Arctia’s current fleet and the first Finnish icebreaker to be commissioned since 1998.
The icebreaker was co-financed by the TEN-T Programme of the European Commission.
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