Conventional tugs will be able to become icebreakers when a new attachable bow, developed by ILS Ship Design & Engineering, is built next year. Finnish Transport Agency, which will be the owner, has started tendering shipyards to build this removable icebreaking bow, which is believed to be the first of its kind.

ILS general manager Kristian Lehtonen told Tug Technology & Business that this bow could convert a typical pusher tug into an icebreaker for inland waterway towage requirements. The first version to be built will have a breadth of 12.5 m and will enable tugs to break 70 cm of ice at 2 knots, or 40 cm of ice at 6 knots.

Although the first will be used in Finnish inland waterways, there has been interest from other national authorities and inland waterways transport organisations.

“There is a lot of interest from Russian operators as there are shallow waterways that are frozen during winter months,” he said. “Our solution will be cost effective as a tug can be used to cut ice with our bow.”

ILS has model tested the icebreaking bow and expects the first to be available in 2018. A 50 m long version has also been designed for large pusher tugs. ILS sales engineer Mo Beiki said this would be able to cut through 80 cm of ice at a speed of 6 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, said Mr Lehtonen.

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