The Finnish Transport Agency has started tendering shipyards to build a removable icebreaking bow to enable conventional tugs to become icebreakers.
The bow, which is designed by ILS Ship Design and Engineering, could convert a pusher tug into an icebreaker for inland waterway towage requirements, said ILS General Manager Kristian Lehtonen.
The first version to be built will have a breadth of 12.5 metres and will enable tugs to break 70 centimetres of ice at two knots, or 40 centimetres of ice at six knots.
“There is a lot of interest from Russian operators as there are shallow waterways that are frozen during winter months,” said Mr Lehtonen. “Our solution will be cost effective, as a tug can be used to cut ice with our bow.”
ILS has tested the icebreaking bow and expects the first to be available next year. A 50-metre version has also been designed for large pusher tugs.
ILS sales engineer Mo Beiki said this would be able to cut through 80 centimetres of ice at a speed of six knots.
ILS has also designed an icebreaking tug that would also be a multipurpose vessel based on the design of 2014-built harbour icebreaker and escort tug Ahto. ILS commissioned full-scale ice trials using the Ahto in the Bay of Bothnia in the northern spring of 2016.