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Steerprop to supply bow thrusters for Canada’s new polar icebreaker


Steerprop, a leading Finnish designer and manufacturer of high-performance propulsion systems, has been chosen to supply advanced ice-classed bow thrusters to the Canadian Coast Guard’s new Polar Icebreaker. The ship will be designed and built by Seaspan Shipyards as part of Canada’s National Shipbuilding Strategy. When completed, she will be one of the most powerful icebreakers in the world.

Steerprop will equip the Polar Icebreaker with two arctic tunnel thrusters specially designed to meet the most demanding ice conditions, even without the protection of tunnel grids. This will be Steerprop’s first delivery of this unique ice-strengthened tunnel thruster, which will take the performance and reliability of tunnel thrusters to the next level. The delivery scope also includes a bridge control system and an offline oil filtering system.

Steerprop has designed an optimal solution for the scope and operational profile of the icebreaker based on the company’s decades-long experience of delivering ice-classed solutions, and “fit for purpose” resolve. In addition to optimizing operational performance, the fully integrated propulsion solution will increase reliability and safety, while reducing lifecycle costs and keeping maintenance requirements at a minimum.

The multi-mission Polar Icebreaker has a displacement of 27,876 tonnes. It will be 150 meters long, 28 meters wide, and will accommodate up to 100 people. With an ice class Polar Class 2 (PC2) rating, the second highest ice class according to the IACS, it will be able to operate in more difficult ice conditions (including in multi-year ice) and for longer periods than any other Canadian icebreaker.

”The Polar Icebreaker will be an incredibly complex ship, designed to operate in the Arctic’s ice-covered waters.” says Russell Davison, Vice President of Coast Guard Programs at Seaspan. “It will play a critical role in enabling the Canadian Coast Guard to transit and protect the Arctic coastline. A reliable and efficient propulsion system is therefore essential, and the Steerprop solution has been selected to deliver this. Furthermore, the vessel will help sustain a year-round presence in Canada’s North, responding to emergencies and supporting local communities, arctic sovereignty, and high-Arctic science.”

“The arctic conditions require extreme reliability – reliability is always the most important thing. Our R&D has always taken this kind of ultimate dependability to be the foundation of everything we do. The propulsion system must be able to perform, day in and day out,” says Juho Rekola, Director, Sales and Project Management at Steerprop. “For demanding arctic conditions, the thrusters need to be built for the purpose of taking into account severe ice conditions and the operational area. This, in combination with our vast experience of delivering propulsion systems to ice-classed vessels, has resulted in a truly optimized solution for this Polar Icebreaker.”

Steerprop delivered its first propulsion units for an icebreaker in 2008 and has been a recognized player in this demanding segment ever since, continuously accumulating operational experience from icebreakers in both the Baltic Sea and the Arctic Ocean.

(Photo from Steerprop)