Launched at the ceremony at CIMC Raffles’ Yantai yard this week, the vessel is now ready for commissioning and final outfitting, just in time for the 2021 krill harvesting season.

The 168-metre Antarctic Provider is powered by the award-winning Wärtsilä 31 engine, which is designed for best-in-class fuel efficiency. In addition, the vessel is enhanced with Dynamic Positioning (DP) capabilities, which prevents the need for anchoring during transshipment.

“We set the highest of ambitions for Antarctic Provider, as well as for CIMC and the suppliers. What we didn’t anticipate was Covid-19,” says Eldar Vindvik, vice president fleet renewal and procurement at Aker BioMarine.

“Despite the challenging global environment and lockdown periods in 2020, our partners truly stepped up to keep up the progress on this vessel. The result is an incredible leap forward in maritime technology and sustainability that will enhance our krill harvesting operations in Antarctica,” he adds.

The vessel will replace Aker BioMarine’s existing support vessel, La Manche and will transport krill products and crew to Aker BioMarine’s logistics hub in Montevideo, Uruguay, with limited interruption to the company’s harvesting operations.

Key features

The vessel is equipped with Wärtsilä 31, four-stroke diesel engine, combined with a hybrid propulsion system. The engine holds a Guinness World Record for fuel efficiency and is also convertible for future greener fuels.

  • The vessel is in full compliance with International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) Polar Code, meeting requirements on hull strength and cold-proofing to combat the Antarctic climate.
  • It is outfitted with frequency-controlled thrusters, to avoid zero pitch loss and reduce underwater noise.
  • It features four, high-capacity cargo holds (holding up to 40,000 cubic meters) plus moveable cranes on top of each cargo hold.
  • It comes with dynamic positioning capabilities to maintain vessel position through the propellers and thrusters.

“From travel restrictions to quarantine, we met challenges throughout the journey to build and complete the new supply vessel. It’s to the enormous credit of the sub-contractors in Norway, Wärtsilä, CIMC, as well as our own team, that this vessel is launched just a few weeks behind schedule, setting new standards for technology and sustainability in krill harvesting. With a propulsion system convertible for future fuels, we have built a future-proof vessel that will support our operations in Antarctica for decades ahead,” says Vindvik.

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