(EnergyAsia, June 11 2014, Wednesday) — Finland’s Wartsila said its dual-fuel engines will power the world’s first liquefied natural gas (LNG)-fired icebreaker now being built by the Arctech Helsinki Shipyard for the Finnish Transport Agency.

Wartsila said it will fit the vessel with a 8-cylinder 20DF, two 9-cylinder 34DF and two 12-cylinder 34DF engines, enabling it to use both LNG and low sulphur diesel fuel when launched in late 2015.

The vessel will have the power to move continuously through 1.6-metre thick ice, and break a 25-metre wide channel in 1.2-metre thick ice at a speed of six knots. It is capable of reaching an average assistance speed of 9 to 11 knots, and achieve a minimum service speed of 16 knots in open water.

While the main purpose of the vessel is icebreaking, it is also designed to independently perform oil spill response operations and emergency towing under demanding conditions both in winter and summer.

As a result, the vessel will operate all year round to provide safe seaborne sailing conditions in the Baltic Sea, said Wartsila.

The Helsinki-based firm said its industry leading track record in developing and implementing dual-fuel engine technology was a crucial factor in the award of the contract.

“By enabling LNG to be used as the engine fuel, both exhaust emissions and fuel costs are notably reduced. The impressive power output per cylinder of the Wartsila engines was also cited as a factor in the contract award decision,” it said.

“The new icebreaker features the highest technology and will be built especially to operate in the demanding winter conditions of the northernmost Baltic Sea. By being able to use LNG fuel, the vessel will be the most environmentally friendly icebreaker ever built,” said Esko Mustamäki, managing director of Arctech Helsinki Shipyard.

“We are the industry leaders in gas fuelled vessel equipment, and are proud to supply the world’s first LNG powered icebreaker with engines powerful enough to meet the customer’s requirements. The combination of ice breaking power and environmental sustainability is difficult to achieve, but our dual-fuel engine technology has the capabilities needed,” said Aaron Bresnahan, sales vice president at Wartsila Ship Power.