Double act for the Baltic

Finnish innovation in ice-going tanker technology will have a major application in the country's own mercantile fleet, albeit with ship construction assigned to the Orient. The pair of 106,000-dwt crude oil carriers booked by Helsinki-based Fortum Shipping, part of Finnish energy group Fortum Corporation, will extend the application of the double-acting tanker (DAT) principle to the type of tonnage for which it was originally, primarily intended.

The DAT concept is the result of development work carried out by Kvaerner Masa-Yards to solve the problem of open-water performance of efficient icebreaking vessels. The ensuing type is formed and equipped to sail in an astern direction in ice-bound waters. This permits an optimized open-water bow form to be adopted, rather than an ice bow, so as to enhance efficiency sailing forward in ice-free conditions. The arrangements also promise good icebreaking capability with reduced power levels, offering fuel consumption savings relative to conventional vessels of comparable capacity.

Running astern is facilitated by the use of podded electric drives, championed by Kvaerner Masa-Yards as a co-originator of the Azipod system, and by the special design of the aftbody.

Two 16,400-dwt Arctic tankers, Uikku and Lunni, retrofitted with Azipods in 1993 and 1995, provided early platforms both for podded propulsion and for the DAT principle in rigorous operating conditions. The robust pair is deployed by Nemarc Shipping, a joint venture of KMY and Fortum Shipping, previously known as Neste Shipping. The first DAT newbuilds were two icebreaking supply ships delivered by the Finnish shipbuilder to Wagenborg for Caspian Sea service in 1998. Fortum's newly ordered 106,000-dwt crude oil tankers, to be constructed in Japan by Sumitomo Heavy Industries, give a huge fillip to a design concept, which offers long-term opportunities for opening up the Russian Arctic trade. In the meantime, the Fortum sisters are destined to ensure dependable, year-round supplies of North Sea crude to the group's Finnish refineries at Porvoo and Naantali.

Maritime Reporter Magazine, page 10,  Aug 2000

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