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Marine Propulsion & Auxiliary Machinery

Marine Propulsion & Auxiliary Machinery

Modernisation adds 20 years’ service life to Canadian icebreakers

Wed 10 Jan 2018 by Paul Fanning

Modernisation adds 20 years’ service life to Canadian icebreakers
CCGS Des Groseilliers has clocked up more than 30 years of service

ABB has successfully concluded the first modernisation on a Canadian Coast Guard (CCG) icebreaker, installing the latest hardware and software on board the 38-year-old CCGS Pierre Radisson as part of a complete upgrade to the ship’s propulsion power distribution system that entailed the installation of 12 new DC-Drives and a complete propulsion control system. The contract includes the option to amend the modernisations of two other ships in the CCG fleet, CCGS Des Groseilliers and CCGS Amundsen, both of which have clocked up more than 30 years of service.

The project kicked off a fleet life extension programme that will see ABB upgrading 10 of the CCG’s 13 high endurance multi-tasked vessels and heavy and medium icebreakers, which conduct major search and rescue operations and play a vital role in keeping the shipping lanes of northern Canada ice-free. The upgrades will take place in succession between now and 2020 while the vessels are afloat and docked at their homeports, in partnership with a domestic specialist in electrical systems integration.

Modernisation of CCGS Pierre Radisson was needed because the original power system, installed 38 years ago, was approaching end of life. While the upgrade will see the vessel retain its existing control arrangement of six AC alternators with rectifiers to supply direct current to the motors through upgraded breakers and contactors, the installation of the new ABB drives will improve availability and extend endurance, allowing the ship to spend more time at sea.

Specifically, ABB fitted twin AC/DC diesel-electric propulsion systems for greater redundancy, with each featuring a DC electric motor connected directly to the vessel’s propeller. ABB also took the opportunity to attach digital sensors to a variety of onboard equipment to provide its shore-based expert engineers with a virtual presence on board the ship to help diagnose problems at any time. ABB’s remote diagnostic service will significantly improve maintainability and contribute to reduced vessel downtime.

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