Icebreaker Refits Highlight Importance of Upgrading

Upgrading old generation systems with new technology is an important focus area for Kongsberg Maritime. This is reflected in the recent upgrade of the two Finnish icebreakers Fennica and Nordica.

Finnish icebreakers Fennica and Nordica recently upgraded by Kongsberg Maritime. Photos courtesy of Arctia Offshore.

Arctia Offshore awarded Kongsberg Maritime the contract to upgrade the Dynamic Positioning System, the Power Management System and Alarm and Monitoring System of two of the icebreakers; Nordica and Fennica. Built and delivered in the early 90s, the vessels contained an earlier generation ship automation systems delivered by Kongsberg Maritime.

"Over the years, we have been involved in upgrading our own older generation automation and DP systems," comments project manager Andrew Stephen in Kongsberg Maritime. "It has always been important during development of new technology to take into consideration the future needs of vessels. We have therefore developed systems specifically for upgrading earlier generations of our systems."

Completed without delays

The scope of supply was to install the K-Pos DP System, C-Joy Independent Joystick, K-Chief marine automation system including Power Management, Vessel Management and Alarm and Monitoring systems, UPS and distribution, NDU with fiber and STP communication, Tautwire, Wind Sensors and MRU.

The upgrade was completed without delays during the vessels' docking periods in 2008 and 2009. Although the project mainly included refitting existing cabinets and operator stations with new electronics, the scope of supply also featured some new equipment as well as installation and termination of all new cabling and equipment. While Kongsberg Maritime was responsible for the project, the electrical contractor, Callenberg was involved as a subcontractor.

The Final Certificate of Conformity for the last of the two vessels, Fennica, marked the end of the two-year upgrade project.

"The Fennica and Nordica upgrades were characterised by a tight schedule with challenging milestones. Our goal was to complete installation and commissioning within the time frame set by Arctia Offshore. This was achieved through close co-operation with our customer, detailed planning and a skilled and highly motivated team," comments Stephen.

Better control

Jukka Vuosalmi is First Mate on MSV Nordica and, like all of Arctia's deck officers, is a trained DP-operator and master mariner. When Nordica sailed to the shipyard to be fitted with the latest DP technology from Kongsberg Maritime, Vuosalmi was one of the people planning the equipment localisation and supervising the work.

"The new system gives us an even better control over the ship," comments Vuosaari. "It also improves operational reliability and diminishes the need for maintenance. Exterior vision is improved and the operator is no longer completely dependent on the monitors. This is important, for example, when working near an oil drilling platform. We have also paid attention to ergonomics where possible. Our work is never short of challenges and variation. Our skills are kept up to date through continued training, and the reliability and safety of our vessels is constantly improved by new technology," he says.

Icebreakers Fennica and Nordica operate in the Baltic Sea, providing icebreaking services in the frozen port areas in Finland, including assistance, towing, securing vessel traffic safety, and traffic control for vessels proceeding in icy conditions. In addition, they offer offshore services in other areas such as the North Sea and the Mediterranean. The vessels are two of eight icebreakers owned by Arctia Group, a specialised shipping company offering icebreaking and oil-spill response, offshore services and marine construction using multipurpose icebreakers, and ferry services.