Aker Arctic has won a contract from the China State Oceanic Administration (SOA), Chinese Arctic and Antarctic Administration (CAA) and the Polar Research Institute of China (PRIC) to design a new icebreaking polar research vessel for China.
Designed to carry a total of 90 people, the new icebreaker will have a length of 120m, breadth of 22.3m and draught of 8.5m.
The 8,000t vessel will be capable of breaking through ice up to 1.5m thick, sailing at a speed of 2-3 knots.
Equipped with twin azimuth propeller drives, the vessel will have dual classification from the China Classification Society (CCS) and Lloyds Register of Shipping (LR).
The design work is expected to take seven months to complete, upon which the design package will be offered to a design firm or shipyard for the detailed design and workshop drawings of the vessel.
The new icebreaker will be fitted with scientific equipment for polar oceans research, as well as an integrated survey system that includes marine geological and geophysical equipment, along with marine biological and ecological instruments.
The vessel will also have marine and atmospheric observation and sampling capabilities related to climate change monitoring for the integrated environmental science programmes.
After completion, the vessel will be used to undertake ecological surveys and act as a biological research platform for marine biological and ecological programmes.
Scheduled to begin operating in 2014, the new icebreaker will join China’s other icebreaker, Xuelong (purchased from Ukraine in 1993), on polar expeditions.
China is also planning to undertake technological upgrades on Xuelong in 2013 to expand its service life by another 15 to 20 years, according to China Daily.
Image: The new 8,000t icebreaking polar research vessel will be capable of accommodating 90 people and breaking through ice up to 1.5m thick. Photo: Aker Arctic