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Arctia’s newest icebreaker Polaris heads to icebreaking duty today, January 9th 2017, at 4 PM. Icebreaker Otso has been in icebreaking duty already since December 8th 2016 and icebreaker Kontio since December 16th 2016.
Icebreaker Polaris is unique in many ways. It is the first icebreaker in the world capable of running on both liquefied natural gas (LNG) and ultra-low-sulphur diesel. Its total output of about 22 MW also makes it Finland’s most powerful icebreaker. Polaris is the most environmentally friendly diesel-electric icebreaker in the world.
Polaris enters service at a historical time, as the year 2017 marks the 100th anniversary of Finland’s independence. To celebrate the centenary, the fore bulkhead of Polaris is adorned with the Finland 100 logo.
Polaris carries on a tradition of Finnish icebreaking expertise that dates back even further than Finland’s independence: the first Finnish icebreaker called Murtaja (“The Breaker”), was launched in 1890. The history of Finnish icebreakers will be discussed on January 13th at the University of Helsinki. The discussion event is in Finnish and open to everyone.
Polaris is the eighth icebreaker in Arctia’s current fleet. The previous Finnish icebreaker was commissioned in 1998. Maritime Reporter & Engineering News, the largest audited circulation publication serving the global maritime community, ranked Polaris third in their list of the Top 10 Ships of 2016.
Master of IB Polaris Mr. Pasi Järvelin tells that the vessel has been ready to go for weeks already and that the crew is eagerly waiting for the coming months in icebreaking duty. “We just bunkered 1 000 cubic meters of low-sulphur diesel here in Katajanokka, Helsinki. We now head on to Pori, where more food provisions and 700 cubic meters of liquefied natural gas will be taken aboard”, explains Mr. Järvelin. He looks forward to busy and interesting working weeks at sea: “This is a brand new icebreaker and we have not yet been in the thick of it. Based on the tests at Aker Arctic’s Model Testing Laboratory earlier, we expect great performance .”
Icebreaker Polaris is co-financed by the European Union’s TEN-T programme.