A new approach to icebreaking Finnish style

The lose icebreaking bow has its own propulsion in addition to the tug's own (Alfons Hakans) The lose icebreaking bow has its own propulsion in addition to the tug's own (Alfons Hakans)
Industry Database

Family-owned Finnish tug owner Alfons Håkans is taking the use of tugs for icebreaking to a new level using a separate powered ice bow.

Keeping the waters of the Baltic ice-free during winter months is expensive but essential for maintaining safe navigation and continuity for seaborne trade year-round in much the same way as coastal authorities are expected to maintain aids to navigation.

For clearing heavy ice huge amounts of power are required from vessels that may have limited employment opportunities out of season, one example of a more economical solution has seen ice-classed anchor handlers of Swedish company Viking Supply Ships employed for ice-breaking duties during winter months, returning to work for the offshore industry in summer.

The sector has links to the world of towing with tugs employed to clear ice and it was in the 1980s that Håkans used a lose bow together with a pushing tug, described by the company as a huge ‘spoon’ being pushed through the ice. The idea of using such a bow with propulsion struck managing director Joakim Håkans some years ago and the company’s tug Calypso will now be employed pushing a propelled bow for the coming ten years on the Finnish lake of Saimaa.

Testing and developing an icebreaking loose bow with propulsion is part of the EU program WINMOS II (Winter Navigation Motorways of the Sea II) and the Finnish Transport Agency agreed on a contract with Turun Korjaustelakka, in Naantali, Finland to build the bow.

It is claimed the idea could see the icebreaking capacity match the performance of the state’s biggest icebreakers as explained by Mr Håkans: “… The cost of this kind of a lose bow would be some 20 percent of the cost of a big icebreaker. And when the season is over, you just leave the bow waiting for the next season, while the pusher can work during the open water season with other jobs. This would mean huge savings. The idea behind this concept is purely one of efficiency and cost cutting.” He adds that they are at the testing the concept stage and as to actual configuration of the propulsion system it remains to be seen if the bow should have pushing or pulling propulsion.

By Peter Barker

Latest Press Releases

Steel cut for first short-sea LNG bunker vessel for Eesti Gaas at Damen Yichang Shipyard, China

On March 18, 2019, a ceremony was held at Damen Yichang Shipyard, China, to mark the start of cuttin... Read more

Damen Cruise inks first contract with SeaDream Yacht Club

Damen Shipyards Group is proud to announce the recent signing of a contract with Oslo, Norway-based ... Read more

SA economy benefits from the building of new navy vessels

On Saturday, the 23rd of February 2019, Damen Shipyards Cape Town (DSCT) hosted a keel laying ceremo... Read more

Homeland Integrated Offshore Services of Nigeria adds to its fleet of Damen 3307 Patrol Vessels

Damen Shipyards Group and Homeland Integrated Offshore Services of Lagos have signed a contract in S... Read more

Seaways International takes delivery of two Damen FCS 2206

On March 4th at Damen Shipyards Singapore, Seaways International took delivery of two Damen Fast Cre... Read more

Europe’s first LNG dual-fuel conversion dredger is launched at Damen Shiprepair Dunkerque

19 months after the contract was awarded, Europe’s first conversion of a dredger to dual-fuel capabi... Read more

View all