Aker Arctic and CJSC Zavod Hydromekhanizatsii (Hydromec), a Russian company specialized in the design and construction of dredging vessels, are jointly developing an ice strengthened and winterized dredger that could be used for maintenance work in the Arctic.
The companies signed a memorandum of understanding in September 2015 to begin the development of an ice strengthened dredger that could work in the Russian Arctic.
An extensive amount of construction work is currently taking place in the Russian Arctic in order to build harbors and infrastructure needed for oil and gas production and transportation to the markets.
The dredging equipment for capital dredging has normally been transported from various locations to the Arctic and can operate only in open-water season during summer months.
“However, harbors, rivers, sea lanes and trading routes need continuous maintenance to stay open and remain deep enough for vessels to move in,” said Ilkka Rantanen, head of offshore services at Aker Arctic.
“Therefore, we have noticed while working on other projects that there is a need of maintenance vessels which could stay year-round in the area. When maintenance dredging begins, a different type of equipment is needed for those activities. An extension of the working season will also have a great advantage on efficiency. None of the dredgers in use today are well ice-strengthened or equipped for harsh winters.”
Basic concepts for the ice-strengthened and winterized dredger have already been outlined and Mr Rantanen believes that actual design work could begin later this year.