ABB Azipod propulsion in North Pole first

KV Svalbard at the North Pole Photo: Norwegian Coast Guard KV Svalbard at the North Pole Photo: Norwegian Coast Guard
Industry Database

A Norwegian Coast Guard vessel has become the first ever ABB Azipod-powered ship to reach the North Pole.

The KV Svalbard was part of the international scientific expedition – Coordinated Arctic Acoustic Thermometry Experiment (CAATEX) – led by research foundation Nansen Center when it reached the ‘top of the world’. It is the first Norwegian vessel to do so.

“We were able to navigate through the Arctic waters and reach the North Pole faster than we thought possible,” said Ottar Haugen, Commander of the Norwegian Coast Guard. “This is a significant milestone for us and a proof that we have a vessel in our fleet equipped with a robust propulsion system that enables operations in the harshest ice conditions – all the way to the North Pole.”

Built in 2001 the KV Svalbard is equipped with twin 5MW Azipod icebreaking units. These propulsion systems, where the electric drive motor is in a submerged pod outside the ship hull, can rotate 360 degrees which is crucial for vessels operating in ice. Azipod icebreaking propulsion is capable of breaking up to 2.1m thick ice and has a proven ability to cut fuel consumption by up to 20% compared to traditional shaftline propulsion systems.

ABB has delivered electric propulsion systems to over 90 icebreakers or ice-going vessels with a propulsion power of up to 45MW. Options for Azipod propulsion span 1MW to 22MW, and the technology has played a key role in developing ABB’s position for environmentally-friendly electric propulsion.

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