With diminishing multi-year ice, the traffic volumes in arctic waters are growing substantially. Completely new fleet of double acting arctic icebreakers and cargo carriers have successfully proven their ability. The size of vessels in the arctic has also grown after introduction of 172k arctic icebreaking LNG carriers. Azipod propulsion is an attractive solution and makes innovative icebreaking ship concepts technically and commercially feasible. ABB Marine has continued the development of the Azipod propulsion concept to meet the demands of ever larger icebreaking vessels with power requirement up to 20 MW units.

Arctic operation capable vessels are the result of decades of systematic propulsion technology development work, from direct shaft lines to the azimuth thrusters. However, it wasn't until the 2006 that the arctic container vessel, the MV Norilskiy Nickel, equipped with a single 13 MW thruster was commissioned. She was the first vessel able to operate independently without icebreaker assistance even in the worst arctic ice conditions.

With growing size of the Arctic vessels there is evident need for propulsion units with power up to 20 MW and with ice classes up to IACS PC2 or even PC1.

Due to this market demand ABB has decided to take the challenge and commence development program aiming to deliver the biggest Azipod units ever built to meet these requirements. This paper will present some of the key design aspects when developing propulsion system for high power icebreaking offshore application.

New technological solutions will help ship owners to access opportunities in the Arctic areas by enabling safe and reliable operation. This paper describes the development of the Arctic vessel propulsion systems from the conventional fixed pitch propellers connected to the diesel engines to the modern electric podded drive systems

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