Finland’s newest icebreaker Polaris is ready to enter service. Operational readiness for icebreaking pursuant to a contract between Arctia and the Finnish Transport Agency (FTA) begins tomorrow, Tuesday 1 November 2016. Icebreakers will be manned as required by ice conditions and the FTA as charterer.
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. Polaris is the eighth icebreaker in Arctia’s current fleet. The previous Finnish icebreaker was commissioned in 1998.
The theme for Finland’s 100th anniversary “Together” is also a fitting word to describe the design and construction of Polaris. The vessel was designed under the supervision of the Finnish Transport Agency to ensure its ability to take on the most challenging conditions in the Baltic Sea. The vessel was built in Helsinki by Finnish shipbuilders. The icebreaker’s innovative design and modern technological solutions are evident, for example, in its shape and propulsion system.
“Building of the world’s most advanced icebreaker Polaris strengthens the position of Helsinki Shipyard as the leading icebreaker builder”, states Esko Mustamäki, Managing Director of Arctech Helsinki Shipyard Inc.
“Polaris represents a new generation of icebreakers. Arctia supports the proposed ban on the use of heavy fuel oil in the Arctic. The use of LNG and the vessel’s built-in oil recovery system are the future of cost effective multipurpose icebreakers. We are proud to be the owner of the world’s most environmentally friendly icebreaker, which will safeguard our customers’ winter transport needs in the Baltic Sea”, says Tero Vauraste, President and CEO of Arctia Ltd., the owner and operator of IB Polaris.
“We are satisfied that we now have a next-generation icebreaker that is in many ways more efficient than its predecessors and environmentally friendly at the same time”, says Markus Karjalainen, Head of Winter Navigation Unit at the Finnish Transport Agency.