Wärtsilä's ship design and marine consultancy subsidiary, Schiffko, based in Hamburg, has been awarded a contract from the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research of Bremerhaven, Germany, to design the revolutionary new European research icebreaker Aurora Borealis, which will have a deep-sea drilling capability.
The contract, which was won in a public tender comprises the initial design concept, general arrangement planning, and full tender documentation. The ship shall facilitate research in ice and open water conditions in the fields of geology, geophysics, oceanography, biology, glaciology, bathymetry, meteorology, and atmosphere physics.
The vessel will have the capability to navigate in up to 14.5 ft. thick ice
It is said that the Aurora Borealis will set new standards in the fields of polar research and naval architecture. Currently, no polar research vessel has the capability to autonomously navigate in pack ice outside the summer season. Aurora Borealis, in contrast, is planned as a multi-purpose icebreaking research vessel for and Antarctic operations with the capability to autonomously navigate in ice with a thickness of up to 4.5 metres. This will for the first time make possible all-year-round research, on for instance the effects of global climate change.
The ship will have the capability to perform scientific deep-sea drilling operations at water depths of up to 5000 metres with a penetration of up to 1000 metres, even when amid drifting pack-ice fields. An innovative, high-performance dynamic positioning system shall enable the ship to keep position in such a demanding environment.