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ABB has secured a contract to upgrade a Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker, which includes installation of the latest hardware and software on board the 38-year-old Pierre Radisson.

The upgrading work on the vessel will include installation of eight new drives to completely upgrade the ship’s power distribution system.

The contract also includes the option of upgrading the other two Coast Guard ships, Des Groseilliers and Amundsen , both of which have completed more than 30 years of service.

With the help of sensors attached to onboard equipment, ABB’s engineers will be able to diagnose problems on the vessel from shore.

This system, named Remote Diagnostic Service, can cut vessel down time significantly.

The vessels will also be installed with automation hardware and propulsion control software.

ABB marine service senior vice-president JyriJusslin said: "We have decades of experience of working with icebreakers, both new builds and modernisations like this.

"We also have a long track record of working with both AC and DC systems and we are delighted the Canadian Coast Guard recognises ABB as a reliable partner."

The 38-year-old current power system of the vessel will be enabled to operate for longer duration at sea, following the installation of the new drives.

The CCGS Pierre Radisson has an existing AC / DC diesel-electric propulsion system comprising two almost identical independent systems. Each system has a direct current (DC) electric motor connected directly to its propeller.

The upgrade will maintain the existing control principles of having six AC alternators with rectifiers, to supply DC to the motors through DC breakers and contactors.

"We are delighted the Government of Canada has selected ABB to support Canadian Coast Guard in this important project."

The design and supply work on the vessel is scheduled to begin immediately and installation and commissioning is expected to be completed by next year.

In winters, the Pierre Radisson breaks ice and escorts ships in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and on the St. Lawrence and Saguenay Rivers.

In summers, the ship travels to the Canadian Arctic to escort commercial ships, serve as a primary search and rescue unit and provide support to scientific missions when possible.

ABB Canadian country managing director Nathalie Pilon said, "This is an important order for ABB. Public and private investment is flourishing in the icebreaking segment across the globe we are at the forefront of this trend. We are delighted the Government of Canada has selected ABB to support Canadian Coast Guard in this important project."

Image: Canadian Coast Guard Ship Pierre Radisson. Photo: courtesy of Cephas.