The was completed by the Monchegorsk, one of a fleet of five ice-class container ships owned by Norilsk Nickel, one of the world’s largest mining and metals companies. Prior to the Monchegorsk’s historic journey, vessels crossing the frozen waters of the Northern Sea Route had to travel in convoys and needed the costly assistance of icebreakers. They also faced a 60-65 day journey home via the Indian Ocean, Suez Canal and northern Europe.
Now the journey time between Dudinka and Shanghai has been cut to 19-20 days, without the icebreaker-escorted convoys which in turn saves time, energy consumption, shipping costs and greenhouse gas emissions.
This achievement is accomplished with a combination of ABB’s Azipod® azimuthing electric propulsion system and Aker Arctic’s double-acting ship (DAS) concept, which gives the container ships the capability of an icebreaking vessel and enables them to operate at high levels of efficiency.
Azipod® and DAS an cut through 1.7 meters of level ice and more than 10 meters of ridged ice with considerably less installed power and lower energy consumption than conventional diesel-driven vessels of the same weight and hull design. This hull strength and Azipod’s unique ability to rotate the vessel 360 degrees with full torque and thrust in any direction creates the ultimate solution for icebreakers and icebreaking vessels.
ABB and Aker extended the concept to freighters a decade ago with the Tempera and Mastera, the world’s first double acting oil tankers with icebreaking capability. Now with the Norilsk Nickel fleet of container ships, ABB and Aker have successfully extended the concept to yet another shipping application.