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Agency prioritizes lower emissions for new icebreakers

Published torsdag 7 januari 2016 kl 15.19
"In a word, power and strength"
(4:42 min)
The icebreaker Atle, pictured outside of Luleå. File photo: Swedish Maritime Administration  / TT
The icebreaker Atle, pictured outside of Luleå. All the Swedish icebreakers have so far been christened with names that come from Norse mythology. File photo: Swedish Maritime Administration / TT

Sweden's five state-owned icebreakers are nearing retirement, and so the Swedish Maritime Administration has started work to develop designs for one that will replace either Atle or Frej, in the Bay of Bothnia, between the northern part of Sweden and Finland.

Sweden's current fleet of icebreakers were built in the early '70s, after a decision to keep the harbors open for shipment year-round, and Mikael Sandström, the project manager at the Swedish Maritime Administration, tells Radio Sweden that technical developments can help the new icebreakers be more energy efficient.

The new designs will consider "not only the shape and form of the hull but also the fuel consumption and also environmental aspects. We want to have less emissions out in the atmoshphere," Sandström said.

The administration is starting with the procurement process now and hope this first vessel will be ready for delivery in 2020 or 2021. Eventually all the icebreakers will be replaced, according to Sanström.

Each icebreaker is estimated to carry a SEK 1 to 1.5 billion pricetag, and Sandström says the vessels should be able to operate efficiently for about 50 years.

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