The Swedish Maritime Administration strengthens the fleet with a used icebreaker and the new icebreaker will be an important complement to secure maritime transport to and from Sweden.

After careful checks and test runs in the Gulf of Bothnia, it is now clear that the Swedish Maritime Administration is buying the used Norwegian-built icebreaker “Polar Circle”, which, with its mere 18 years is significantly rejuvenating the fleet.

The new icebreaker is 74 meters long and 17 meters wide, which places her in the middle in terms of size between the Swedish Maritime Administration’s smallest icebreaker Ale and the larger ones in the Atle class.

“We are delighted to welcome “Polar Circle” to our fleet. She will be an important complement, not least she will be able to relieve Ale who both starts and ends the season and who has by far the most working hours,” says Joel Smith, Acting Director General at the Swedish Maritime Administration, who adds that “There is no doubt about the need to break ice to keep merchant shipping going. We have a great need to update our fleet and it is gratifying that Polar Circle lives up to our high standards.”

The ice winter started this season earlier than usual and periods of severe cold have been followed by deep low pressure with winds that compressed the sea ice and created high ice banks that are difficult to break through.

The pressure on the icebreakers has been high and the waiting times for merchant shipping have been long.

At the same time, there is a strong expansion of the heavy industry in Norrland, which means more sea transport. Without icebreaking, the ports would risk having to remain closed up to 130 days a year.

It was in December that the Swedish Maritime Administration went out with a tender, where “Polar Circle” was the winning tender. She will be commissioned next icebreaker season. Before then, she will receive a Swedish flag and be updated with new equipment. Also, she will get a new name. The Swedish Maritime Administration will announce the new name later.

Source: Swedish Maritime Administration