World’s first LNG icebreaker set to go into service

By Arne F. Finne, High North News - October 26, 2016

The world’s first LNG-powered icebreaker will be unveiled on Monday, Oct. 31 in Helsinki, and will be ready for service by Nov 1.

IB Polaris joined the fleet of Finnish company Arctia on Sept. 28. The unique vessel is able to use both liquefied natural gas and low sulphur diesel oil as fuel. The use of LNG significantly reduces carbon emissions, making IB Polaris the most environmentally friendly diesel electric icebreaker in the world, Arctia says in a press release.

Arctia's IB Polaris, the world's first LNG powered icebreaker, is set to enter service Nov. 1. (Arctia, Ltd.)
Arctia’s IB Polaris, the world’s first LNG powered icebreaker, is set to enter service Nov. 1. (Arctia, Ltd.)

The icebreaking capacity of IB Polaris is 1.8 meters (about 6 feet) at a speed of 3.5 knots. Polaris has received TEN-T funding from the European Union through the vessel’s orderer, the Finnish Transport Agency. The most powerful Finnish icebreaker, Polaris will enter operational icebreaking readiness in November, and begin its work in the Baltic Sea this winter.

Arctia called the vessel “a true masterpiece of Finnish shipbuilding expertise.” Innovative design components include the vessel’s hull form and propulsion unit arrangement. The vessel is equipped with three Azipod propulsion units rotating 360 degrees which enables excellent maneuvering qualities.