ABB: Propelling the Polar Cruise Boom

Image: ABB

By Eric Haun

ABB Azipods help to propel a new generation of Arctic
capable cruise ships

Leveraging its experience in the distinct polar and cruise vessel
segments, ABB and its Azipod are at the forefront of the booming
polar passenger vessel market. As world travelers continually
seek access to more exotic and exciting destinations, evolving
cruise shipping trends have triggered an order boom for passenger
vessels capable of plying some of the most treacherous Arctic and
Antarctic routes. Required for this class of ships is a range of
equipment and technologies that enable safe and comfortable
sailing through polar waters. Answering the propulsion call is
ABB, a world leader within the polar and passenger vessel
markets, whom Maritime Reporter & Engineering News
recently visited at its Helsinki location, ABB Marine House.

ABB's electric podded azimuth thruster Azipod has a 25-year
history in the maritime industry, serving a large variety of
vessel types ranging from cargo ships to offshore support vessels
and drill ships. No stranger to icy conditions, ABB's know-how
for ice going vessels runs deep, and the company possesses a long
supply history for cold water vessels. Currently there are more
than 60 Azipod-equipped vessels in operation or on order for work
in icy waters, including the high-tech LNG-powered Finnish
icebreaker Polaris delivered last year, and SCF's 299-meter heavy
ice class LNG carrier Christophe de Margerie.

Likewise, ABB is no stranger to cruise and passenger ships.
Azipods were first installed on a cruise ship in 1998, paving way
for some 60 subsequent cruise ships to date, including the
world's largest: Royal Caribbean's 1,187-foot-long,
226,000-gross-ton Oasis class ships. In the cruise market, ABB's
most recent Azipod order came from Genting's Star Cruises brand,
whose two new 204,000-gross-ton Global Class vessels due for
delivery from 2019 are specially designed for the Asian cruise

Of all modern large cruise ships, icebreakers and high ice-class
cargo vessels, roughly two-thirds are fitted with Azipod
propulsion, according to ABB. "The main market for Azipod is
large cruise and the opening new seaways in the north," said
Sakari Sorsimo, Senior Vice President, Head of ABB Business Unite
Marine and Ports Finland.

Leveraging this presence and experience in both the polar and
cruise segments, ABB is now positioned to serve an emerging class
of polar and sub polar passenger vessels and has even launched a
new Azipod designed specifically this market, the Azipod DO,
which Sorsimo said is designed for "smaller, lighter ice class
vessels," and is available from 1.5-7.5 MW.

"We are designing [the Azipod DO] here in Finland, but
manufacturing in China," Sorsimo said. "And for this, we already
have contracts for polar cruise vessels."

In the expedition cruise segment, ABB currently has orders to
supply Azipods for the world's first passenger vessel to be
constructed explicitly to Polar Code standards, and most recently
the world's largest expedition yachts with ice class.

The polar class passenger vessel Scenic Eclipse is currently
under construction at Croatia's Uljanik shipyard for Australia's
Scenic group and is due for delivery in August 2018. The 10-deck
luxury cruiser will be outfitted with two 3 MW Azipod units,
propelling the 168-meter-long, 16,800-gross-ton vessel through
polar waters during the summer months. Scenic Eclipse will be
classed by Bureau Veritas.

Three new 20,000-gross-ton expedition megayachts for Genting Hong
Kong brand Crystal Cruises will each be powered by two Azipod
units, enabling the Polar Class 6 luxury ships to navigate in icy
conditions. The three Endeavor Class vessels will be built by MV
Werften in Germany starting in 2017 and delivered in 2019, 2020
and 2021. ABB will supply the complete power, propulsion and
automation package for these vessels, each classed by DNV GL.

"We are doing quite high ice class on the DO pod, so we have a
unit that has to perform both in the ice and in the open water
with extremely high comfort," said Marcus Höglblom, ABB Vice
President for Passenger Ship and Azipod Segment. "These vessels
will be able to cruise anywhere in the world - from Antarctic to
Arctic - for a very demanding customer."


Power range:

  • 1.5-7.5 MW per unit

Gearless power train

  • Induction motor, or
  • Permanent magnet motor

Hybrid cooling

  • Up to 45% performance increase
  • Up to 70% power without cooling

Electric steering

  • 4 redundancy options

Adjustable strut height

  • Minimizes / eliminates headbox

Shaftline proven technology

  • Redundant seal
  • Online bearing monitoring

Mar 6, 2017

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