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Author: Rebecca Gibson/Wednesday, March 9, 2016/Categories: News, Building and refurbishment
Goal-based concept design is key to ensuring new generation exploration ships can safely and comfortably sail in polar seas, according to naval architect and marine engineering company Foreship.
The company aims to help cruise operators design or modify ships so that they will comply with the International Code for Ships Operating in Polar Waters, which is expected to enter into force on 1 January 2017. Initially covering ships built after that date, the code will apply to all ships bound for destinations with latitudes 60 degrees or higher from January 2018.
“Few cruise ships have been strengthened for ice, even these have often been strengthened to the lowest possible ice class, but the Polar Code means owners must adopt a more exacting approach, even at the concept stage,” said Markus Aarnio, chairman of Foreship. “New Polar Code requirements for ships include a defined Polar Service Temperature, based on actual temperatures in the intended operational area. Stability considerations need to include ice accretion, which is not always easy in the case of older ships with small stability margins.”
Foreship also recommends that concept designs take into account other hazards posed to mariners by the harsh environment.
“All equipment, from deck machinery to lifeboats, escapes and firefighting systems, need to work in low temperatures,” said Aarnio. “Arctic and Antarctic waters have a number of similarities, but there are also significant differences. There is relatively little multi-year ice in the Antarctic, while Arctic sea ice survives over many summer seasons. This will affect the required ice strengthening, even if most Polar Code cruise ships plan to operate mostly in open water.”
Currently, Foreship is helping both Crystal Cruises and Scenic to design and build the first luxury passenger vessels that are purpose-built for polar waters. Crystal is building the first of a possible three 1,000-passenger, ice-strengthened, 320m luxury ships at the Lloyd Werft yard in Germany. Scenic, meanwhile, is building the world’s first ‘Discovery Yacht’ at the Uljanik yard in Croatia. The 165m, 228-passenger ship will operate in Arctic and Antarctic waters and will meet Polar Class 6 requirements.
“Separate engine rooms, modern waste water treatment, adequate garbage stores and the possibility to operate without heavy fuel oil are all prerequisites for polar operations,” said Aarnio. “But owners also need to consider ship sizes and passenger capacity; ships with more than 500 passengers cannot land passengers on Antarctic, for example, and more regulations are coming to protect sensitive polar areas. Polar shipping will nonetheless grow over the coming years and design innovations to deal with all eventualities need to be at the concept stage, and not an afterthought.”
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