ABB Azipods mark milestone with first North Pole visit

ABB Azipods mark milestone with first North Pole visit

Malcolm Latarche

Malcolm Latarche · 27 August 2019


ABB has announced a new first for its Azipod propulsion system with Norwegian Coast Guard’s vessel KV Svalbard becoming the first ever Azipod-powered ship to reach the North Pole

KV Svalbard, built in 2001 and equipped with twin 5MW Azipod icebreaking units, was sailing in the Arctic waters as part of the international scientific expedition, Coordinated Arctic Acoustic Thermometry Experiment (CAATEX), led by a Norwegian non-profit research foundation Nansen Center.

The aim of the expedition was to place seabed sensors that would allow the scientists to monitor water temperatures in the Arctic waters. Reaching the North Pole adds another dimension to the research, enabling data collection from some of the most remote parts of the Arctic Ocean.

“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.”

The Azipod propulsion system, where the electric drive motor is in a submerged pod outside the ship hull, can rotate 360 degrees to increase manoeuvrability, which is particularly crucial for vessels operating in ice. Azipod icebreaking propulsion is capable of breaking up to 2.1m thick Arctic ice and has a proven ability to cut fuel consumption by up to 20% compared to traditional shaftline propulsion systems.

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