The LNG-powered Polaris refuels at the Tornio LNG terminal in Finland. Photo: Studio Timo Heikkala Oy
The world’s first LNG powered icebreaker, Polaris, has fueled up for the first time in Tornio, Finland, home to the Nordic countries’ largest liquefied natural gas terminal.
The bunkering took place Saturday, February 2nd, in the icy Röyttä Harbour.
The diesel-electric icebreaker, Polaris, joined the fleet of Finnish icebreaker operator, Arctia Ltd., in September 2016. The vessel operates under contract with the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency, which is responsible for Finland’s icebreaking services and for making sure that Finland’s harbors can be accessed throughout the year.
Use of LNG fuel makes the Polaris one of the most environmentally-friendly icebreakers in the world.
“This is the third winter in the demanding, icy conditions of the northern Baltic Sea for the world’s first LNG-powered icebreaker. Polaris has met our expectations with flying colors proving that it is truly a next generation icebreaker,” says Markus Karjalainen, Head of the Winter Navigation Unit of FTIA.
The Tornio LNG terminal opened in 2018 and features LNG bunkering, LNG vaporizing facilities, and a 50,000 cbm storage tank that is kept constantly at the temperature of -163 °C. Built by Wärtsilä, the terminal is owned by Manga LNG Ltd, but it’s a joint project between Outokumpu and SSAB steel mills, EPV Energy Ltd and Skangas, the leading LNG company in the Nordic countries.
The Tornia LNG terminal is one of two LNG bunkering terminals currently in Finland. At 50,000 cbm of storage, it is larger than the Pori LNG terminal, located further south. A third terminal is also planned for Hamina, Finland, but it’s not due for completion until 2020.
“Tornio’s new LNG terminal enables increased use of LNG when operating in the Bay of Bothnia,” Karjalainen added. “Until now, the northernmost suitable terminal was located in Pori, which is way too far from Polaris’ operating area in the far end of the Bothnian Bay. Some LNG has been delivered by truck, but Polaris has had to rely mainly on diesel.”
“In addition to using LNG, all of Polaris’ operations aim at environmental friendliness,” commented Pasi Järvelin, Master of IB Polaris. “For example, the lubricant used in the ship’s propulsion system is biodegradable. The ship’s grey water, which basically consists of showering water, is collected to a container which is emptied during port calls. In other words, nothing is released to the sea, even if the water has been purified.”
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