Rolls-Royce to power ice-breaking cargo ship

A high-strength controllable pitch propeller from Rolls-Royce will be used to power a new ice-breaking cargo ship for Canadian company Fednav Limited.

The ice-breaking bulk carrier will transport highly valuable nickel and copper concentrates from Canada, through the Arctic ice, to customers in Europe, and will have to contend with some of the most rugged Arctic conditions including hard packed shear ice and icebergs.

The contract comes as Fednav Limited, one of the world's largest operators of high ice-class vessels, has recently agreed a long term transportation contract with mining company Canadian Royalties Inc. for the shipping of concentrates from the Nunavik Nickel mine in northern Quebec.

Rolls-Royce is a world leader in the design and manufacture of ice-classed propellers, and will supply a 6.5 metre diameter nickel aluminium bronze Kamewa propeller for the new vessel. The propeller will weigh 45 tonnes and will be powered by a 21.7MW, (or 29,000 horsepower) diesel engine.

The propeller will be mounted inside a steel nozzle, to give protection from floating blocks of ice while increasing thrust as the ship pushes its way through the ice. When travelling through open water, the ship uses a third of its power to travel at 13 knots, but when breaking through thick ice, it needs all available power to maintain a speed of three knots.

The new ship, which has a deadweight of 25,000 tonnes, will be designed and built in Japan by Universal Shipbuilding Corporation. It will meet stringent design and operational requirements including a reinforced hull to allow it to proceed in continuous mode through ice up to 1.5 metres thick.

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