The hull assembly of icebreaking supply vessel NB-506 has started with the Keel Laying Ceremony held at Helsinki Shipyard 19 January 2012. The Russian Shipping Company Sovcomflot ordered two icebreaking supply vessels from Arctech a year ago. The vessels will be delivered in April 2013 and they will supply the Arkutun-Dagi oil and gas field in the Sakhalin area in Far East Russia.
The project combines the Arctic expertise of Russia and the West, providing vessels capable of operating year-round either on rough seas or in the middle of ice fields. Vitus Bering and her sistership will be ideal vessels resulting from this international cooperation. They will be able to operate even if surrounded by 1,7 metre thick ice. Both ships will also be equipped with dynamic positioning systems allowing them to approach the platform in any weather conditions. The list of the two ships’ other capabilities includes escorting ships in ice conditions in the area around the platform, conducting oil spill containment operations, towing oil platforms and other large objects in the open sea. In order to facilitate maneuvering in ice conditions, the designers of the ships’ hull made it possible for both vessels to break ice not only with their bows, but also with their sterns, thus allowing for reverse movement. The power propulsion system, comprising four main engines, will provide an aggregate power of 18 MW.
The Keel laying at Helsinki Shipyard followed old traditions. The ceremony was attended by the top management of the client Sovcomflot and the owner companies of Arctech Helsinki Shipyard: United Shipbuilding Corporation and STX Europe.
”These new buildings guarantee the full employment to Helsinki Shipyard. It seems that by the end of March we are able to employ our whole staff, approximately 400 people. We will also be needing extra recruitments. We believe that similar vessels will also be built in the future”, comments Mr. Esko Mustamäki, the Managing Director of Arctech Helsinki Shipyard.
The blocks are being built together with Vyborg Shipyard. 37 of the blocks are built in Vyborg and five of them in Helsinki. The first block of 353 tonns, that was set on the keel, has been manufactured in Helsinki. The block will be located in the middle of the ship as part of the cargo handling and cargo tank spaces of the vessel.
Arctech Helsinki Shipyard has been responsible of the design and procurement of the vessels as well as the finalizing steps: block outfitting, paintings, hull assembly, outfitting and commissioning. ”Co-operation with the client has gone well and at the moment the project proceeds as planned. The next aim is to launch the vessel by summer”, comments Mr. Juha Sinkkonen, the Shipyard Director of Arctech Helsinki Shipyard.
World Maritime News Staff, January 19, 2012; Image: Arctech