In early December, the world’s first self-propelled icebreaker bow, built at Turku Repair Yard, subsidiary of BLRT Grupp, has been delivered to the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency.
“This project turned to be a real challenge for us and we coped with it thanks to the extensive competencies available within the holding. Tugboat with the new detachable icebreaking bow will start icebreaking operations in the Saimaa Lake area in South-Eastern Finland as soon as winter comes, ensuring year-round navigation and a high level of navigation safety”, emphasized Johan Backas, Managing Director, Turku Repair Yard.
“For the industry concentrated in the Saimaa Lake area, a longer navigation season is very important, as otherwise it was necessary to search for another means of transport for replacement. Existing icebreakers are not always able to secure opportunity for the passage of large-tonnage vessel in difficult ice conditions. New removable icebreaker bow with a diesel-electric propulsion system, operating in combination with a tugboat, will be able to break ice up to a thickness of 70 cm,” explained Kari Wihlman, Director, Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency.
The project was developed jointly by the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency, an engineering companies ILS (Finland) and Western Baltic Engineering (Lithuania), subsidiary of BLRT Grupp. The steel bow hull was built at Western Baltija Shipbuilding in Klaipeda, and Turku Repair Yard carried out outfitting works, as well as the modernization and sea trials of the tugboat Calypso, owned by the Finnish towage company Alfons Håkans (owner of PKL in Estonia),
The self-propelled icebreaker bow is a motor ship with the VISEDO propulsion system and auxiliary CATERPILLAR diesel generators. All systems of removable bow are remotely controlled from the bridge of the tugboat.
The construction of the icebreaker bow is one of the phases of the large-scale development project of winter navigation WINMOS II (Winter Navigation Motorways of the Sea II), financed by the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF). The aim of the project is to secure year round navigation in the European Union’s northernmost waters while further developing cooperation between Finland, Estonia and Sweden for icebreaking services.