World’s 1st LNG Icebreaker Refueled at Tornio LNG Terminal

On February 2, icebreaker Polaris refueled for the first time at the Nordic countries’ largest liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal in Tornio in the icy Röyttä Harbour. 

The world’s most environmentally friendly diesel–electric icebreaker joined the fleet of Finland’s icebreaker operator Arctia in September 2016.

From the outset, Polaris was designed as an icebreaker that combines efficiency with environmental friendliness.

“This is the third winter in the demanding, icy conditions of the northern Baltic Sea for the world’s first LNG-powered icebreaker. Polaris has met our expectations with flying colours proving that it is truly a next generation icebreaker,” Markus Karjalainen, Head of the Winter Navigation Unit of the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency (FTIA), commented.

FTIA is responsible for Finland’s icebreaking services and for making sure that Finland’s harbors can be accessed throughout the year.

All sectors of transport strive to reduce emissions. As explained by Karjalainen, Tornio’s new LNG terminal enables increased use of LNG when operating in the Bay of Bothnia.

“Until now, the northernmost suitable terminal was located in Pori, which is way too far from Polaris’ operating area in the far end of the Bothnian Bay. Some LNG has been delivered by truck, but Polaris has had to rely mainly on diesel.”

Constructed at Arctech Helsinki Shipyard, Polaris features a length of 110 meters and a width of 24 meters and can reach a speed of up to 17 knots. The icebreaking capacity of IB Polaris is 1.2 meters at a speed of 6 knots.

Arctia, being one of the world’s first shipping companies to start using LNG, promotes the transition towards cleaner future fuels like LNG and biofuels in shipping.

“In addition to using LNG, all of Polaris’ operations aim at environmental friendliness. For example, the lubricant used in the ship’s propulsion system is biodegradable. The ship’s grey water, which basically consists of showering water, is collected to a container which is emptied during port calls. In other words, nothing is released to the sea, even if it the water has been purified,”  according to Pasi Järvelin, Master of IB Polaris.

Photo: Studio Timo Heikkala Ltd. Rights: Arctia Ltd, Business Finland, Gasum Ltd, Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency.