Since its launch in 1990, ABB has secured its 100th cruise ship order for the Azipod propulsion system. This contract was awarded to power Ponant’s first electric hybrid icebreaking expedition cruise vessel.
The luxury polar expedition cruise ship, due delivery in 2021, will be fitted with two Azipod VI propulsion units to cope with the most challenging ice conditions.
Upon delivery from Norway’s VARD Søviknes, the cruise ship will take passengers to thus far unexplored destinations in Arctic and Antarctic waters. In ice-covered seas, Azipod units with 6 m propellers and combined power of 34 MW will help the vessel achieve greater manoeuvrability and efficiency, as well as lower the environmental impact.
Due to minimal noise and vibration, Azipod propulsion will also improve passenger and crew comfort, ABB claimed
“We are delighted that PONANT chose to rely on ABB’s leading expertise both in cruise and ice going vessel propulsion for their pioneering vessel,” said Juha Koskela, ABB Marine & Ports Managing Director.“Azipod units already power more than 80 vessels navigating in icy seas, and reaching the 100th cruise ship order highlights ABB’s commitment to a technology with superior performance, reliability, safety and environmental profile.”
“At the beginning of the 1990s, we entered the cruise market with a technology offering a 10-15% efficiency gain over conventional shaftline systems and a gearless construction that reduces environmental impact,” said Marcus Högblom, Head of the Passenger, Ice & Dry Cargo segment, ABB Marine & Ports.“Since then, the cruise market has been increasingly choosing Azipod propulsion. We estimate that energy savings equivalent to 700,000 tonnes of fuel have been made in the cruise sector due to the selection of Azipod.”
Using the ABB Ability collaborative operation centres, ABB is able to monitor the operations of the Azipod cruise fleet and co-ordinate remote equipment analysis, diagnostics, and predictive maintenance services.
In addition, ABB recently won a contract to deliver the power, automation, propulsion and digital solutions to the new Lindblad Expeditions Holdings expedition cruise ship.
This ice-going vessel will be equipped with ABB’s power and automation solutions, as well as two Azipod DO propulsion units.
The ship has been designed by Ulstein Design & Solutions and will be constructed by the Norwegian yard Ulstein Verft. The vessel is to be delivered in the first quarter of 2020.
“We are excited to partner with ABB to help build our blue water vessel, one of the most technologically advanced expedition vessels in the industry,” said Nikolaos Doulis, Senior Vice President, Newbuildings, Lindblad Expeditions. “Our selection of ABB is based on our experience of them as a reliable, innovative partner. ABB Azipod propulsion offers major safety benefits for our vessel with exceptional fuel consumption, high performance in demanding ice conditions, and remarkably improved onboard comfort.”
“The emergence of a distinct market for expedition cruise ships bound for polar waters plays into two areas of ABB expertise,” explained ABB’s Koskela. “Electrical solutions are more reliable, efficient and environmentally responsible than their mechanical counterparts, as well as better aligned with digitalisation. Similarly, Azipod propulsion achieves greater manoeuvrability and improves passenger and crew comfort on board, while its gearless construction reduces environmental risk.”
ABB’s patented Ability System 800xA will also be fitted on board the ship. This system integrates power, propulsion and vessel management into one platform, enabling both crew and onshore teams to get a comprehensive overview of all the information needed to operate the vessel in the optimal way.
Also using the operations centres, ABB will monitor the performance of its technology on board and can remotely connects operators with company experts, which can be particularly crucial for vessels operating in remote areas.
Ulstein holds options to build another two ships for Lindblad Expeditions Holdings to the same design.
“We are very aware of plans to build luxury ships with sufficient ice-breaking strength to follow the course set by the great polar explorers,” added Koskela. “We are also aware that these most adventurous of owners are already planning to choose hybrid electric propulsion and integrated solutions that enable an increasing level of automation.”
Just as vital to the support of the expanding expedition cruise market will be ABB’s new ‘Electric. Digital. Connected.’ strategy, part of which is focused on seven land-based centres co-ordinating remote equipment analysis, monitoring and diagnostics, and predictive maintenance services.
ABB estimated that this approach reduces on-call vessel visits of service engineers by up to 70%, while docking costs can be cut by up to 50%.