Logistical expert under arctic circumstances
Offshore

Logistical expert under arctic circumstances

After 20 years of service in the Caspian Sea, ‘Ice Breaking Support Vessel’ (IBSV) Arcticaborg is embarking on a new adventure. For the next five years, it will support Fathom Marine in the Canadian Arctic waters. With captain Igor Umerenko at the helm, the Arcticaborg left Kazakhstan for Vancouver, Canada, a journey of 10.000 miles.

North West Passage

Some time ago, travelling from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean was inextricably linked to a pass through the Panama Channel. There is however another route, one that is frozen over for most of the year: the Northwest Passage. Climate change has made this arctic route accessible for longer and earlier in the season. Last year, for the first time in its long shipping history, Wagenborg’s m.s. Africaborg successfully completed the Northwest Passage. With the Arcticaborg’s intended voyage to Vancouver a second chance arises.

Built for the Arctic

The Arcticaborg and her sister ship Antarcticaborg were constructed by Kværner Masa-Yards in Helsinki, Finland in 1998. These so-called ‘Shallow draft icebreaker supply vessels’ were specifically designed to be able to work in the shallow waters and severe ice conditions of the Caspian Sea. The Arcticaborg is able to move forward through 60 cm of ice and backwards through 90 cm. The fact that the icebreaking qualities in reverse mode are better, is because of the shape and the weight of the stern combined with the so-called ‘Azipod system’. This diesel electric propulsion system is ideally suited for ice operations, because unlike the traditional drive mechanisms it has no direct and thus vulnerable link between engine and propeller. The stainless steel propellers are driven electrically and are able to grind ice chunks.

Fathom Marine

After a decline in activities in Kazakhstan, the Arcticaborg has found new specialised work in a similar working environment. Wagenborg Offshore has signed a five year contract with Fathom Marine Inc. for providing marine support in the Western Canadian Arctic. The vessel will be operational from the Canadian port of Vancouver. Edwin de Vries, director of Wagenborg Offshore, explains: “The plans for the Arcticaborg fit Wagenborg Offshore’s strategy perfectly: to deliver complex and innovative maritime logistics for the offshore industry.”

“The plans for the Arcticaborg fit Wagenborg Offshore’s strategy perfectly: to deliver complex and innovative maritime logistics for the offshore industry.”

Edwin de Vries, director of Wagenborg Offshore

A long journey

The Northwest Passage however is not just any route. It required a lot of preparation before the Arcticaborg was able to leave Kazakhstan. According to Wilfried Boelens, operations manager at Wagenborg Offshore: “The vessel left the Caspian Sea through the Wolga-Don-Canal and the Sea of Azov. After a layover in Malta for bunkering, a change of crew and loading some spare parts the voyage continued towards Saint John’s in Newfoundland, Canada. The vessel was then reflagged from the Kazakh to the Antillian flag, and reclassified from RMRS to BV. Furthermore, the vessel passed inspection by the Canadian Coastguard and every other inspection in preparation of passing the Northwest Passage. Here, the crew was relieved by their Canadian replacements, with the exception of the captain and the chief engineer officer. All within six days!” From here the offshore vessel travelled north towards the arctic circle. To be able to work in the arctic the vessel has been fitted with additional navigation equipment such as a gyro compass, special radio equipment suitable for high latitude, and paper navigation charts. “Electronic charts don’t completely cover the area yet”, Wilfried explains. “During the trip the Arcticaborg received further support from a team of Wagenborg’s technical and nautical experts on shore. Furthermore, an experienced Canadian Ice Navigator sailed along to advise the captain on the bridge during the trip, and to communicate with the Canadian authorities.”

Hard at work

Since mid-July, the Arcticaborg is working in Tuktoyaktuk. From here, several radar stations along the Canadian shore will be provided with gas fuel, water and spare parts. Once the area completely freezes over around October, the Arcticaborg will travel through to Vancouver. From this port the offshore vessel will provide towing services until spring arrives.

Related Offshore cases

28 January 2020 Masterclass door-to-door logistics

For decades, wind has been of particular significance for Wagenborg. Wind was used to sail all different corners of the world. But as the world changed, so did our relationship with the wind. In current times we no longer depend on the wind to transport our cargo. Instead, we now offer logistical solutions to those who do still depend on wind, for instance, to generate sustainable energy.

Read more

13 January 2020 Wagenborg Foxdrill contributes to time-saving special periodic survey on board drill ship Saipem 12000

For many years Wagenborg Foxdrill has been a trustworthy partner of the Italian offshore firm Saipem. Having worked together on a variety of drilling asset related projects in all corners of the world, a solid relationship has been formed between both companies. This partnerships continues after an enquiry from Saipem’s Offshore Drilling team early 2019: the Saipem 12000, a 6th Generation ultradeepwater drill ship, was due for a Special Periodic Survey and required specialised support. We talk to project manager Bart Oude Ophuis about this project.

Read more

08 January 2019 Wagenborg's half century partnership with NAM and Shell

The champagne bottle had just shattered on the bow of the Kasteelborg when we talked to NAM director Johan Atema and Egbert Vuursteen, standing proudly side by side. Egbert Vuursteen tells us about the successful naming ceremony for Wagenborg’s second walk-to-work vessel for NAM/Shell. “Today is another highlight in the close, constructive relationship between NAM and Shell on the one hand and Royal Wagenborg on the other.”

Read more

Contact us

We are happy to help!

Contact