Activity 2

Concept study on next generation icebreakers

Building an icebreaker is a big investment. The icebreakers generate significant costs within the maritime transport system, also during summer and mild winters when they not are required for icebreaking operations. Therefore it is essential to find out the optimal composition of icebreakers for the joint operated icebreaker fleet.

Generally, the ice conditions are more difficult in the northern waters than in the southern waters. The icebreaker’s performance must meet the demand from the areas they are designed for. A common icebreaker designed for assisting vessels in the northern Baltic Sea is thus not suitable for the ice condition in high Artic. And an icebreaker designed for the ice conditions in the Southern Baltic Sea area is not suitable for the northern Baltic Sea areas. The traditional icebreakers will be in service every winter and the rest only during normal and severe winters. There is a challenge to find the balance between vessels build for icebreaking that are usable for other services and vessels built for other services with icebreaking ability.

One way to mitigate the costs is to find concepts where more users share the same vessel. There are some concepts of combinations of e.g. Offshore (oil industry), Scientific research (Arctic, Antarctic), Sea Hydro graphic survey, but there is a need for more innovative combinations if more icebreaking capacity is required in the future. The increasing number of large Crude-carriers causes risks for large oil spills that did not exist a few years ago. A combination of an icebreaker and a environment protection vessel e.g., might be a possible way to improve the preparedness for large oil spills.

Also the existing concept ideas regarding icebreaking technology will be studied, e.g. Arctic multipurpose icebreaker, Oblique-icebreaker, Trimaran-icebreaker, “Removable icebreaking bow” as well as different propulsion types and fuel alternatives.

This activity consists of four sub activities according to the descriptions below.

Sub activity  2:1

A desktop study of existing icebreakers’ known overall performance and aspects affecting it has been worked out as well as a compilation of available future icebreaker concepts to different ice-breaker categories in the Baltic Sea system. You can download the study here.

As part of this evaluation, and to make the model test results comparable, the ATLE/URHO -class icebreaking capability was evaluated using modern, self-propelled tests. Selection of concepts for further evaluation were based on the results of the study, and findings of known performance factors of existing icebreakers and Activity 1’s sub activities 1:1 and 1:2.

Sub activity 2:2

A desktop study on fuel possibilities, for selected icebreaker types from sub activity 2:1 ,has been completed. The study covers alternative fuels’ effect on bunker capacity, environmental impact, lifetime costs and operational propulsion efficiency. The pros and cons of various propulsion types were also considered in this study.

You can download the study here.

Sub activity  2:3

Based on results from sub activities 2:1 and 2:2, a study of the relative overall efficiency between selected models of the selected icebreaker concepts was performed. Several open water and ice model tests have been performed in two separate model test basins.

Sub activity  2:4

Desktop studies on commercial and juridical aspects and experiences of different ownership, chartering and operating arrangements’ pros and cons has been completed. The study covers several aspects of various arrangements including long term totals costs, risks, control functions and responsibilities.

Sub activities 2.4 and 2.5 have been combined into one study which can be downloaded here.

Sub activity 2:5

A study of different financing options for new icebreaker has been completed.  Building an icebreaker is a big investment that is only useful during a limited period of the year.  A partner owned icebreaker is one alternative. Calculations were executed taking into account that an alternative financier and users can take advantage of such resource during the time the vessel is not required for icebreaking operations. The study was built on a system where the icebreaker is always available for icebreaking operations when required, during the winter season in the Baltic Sea (1st of December – 31st of May).

Sub activities 2.4 and 2.5 have been combined into one study which can be downloaded here.

Sub activity  2:6

Composition of findings in sub activities 2:1, 2:2, 2:3, 2:4 and 2:5, in order to indicate requirements for optimizing the composition (number, size and capacity) of the future icebreaker fleet for best efficiency, including financial aspects and environmental impact.

All studies performed in this Activity together with results from Activity 1 create a plan on next generation icebreakers and icebreaking fleet and will support decisions for new buildings which will be performed 2020-2030. The studies indicate relative pros and cons of different concepts and designs for each icebreaker for different intended operational areas. This plan will have an impact on costs of winter navigation as it optimised the composition of required fleet jointly for Finland and Sweden.