ARCHIVED - NRC Teams up with Samsung Heavy Industries to Improve Design of Ice Tankers

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October 04, 2004— Ottawa, Ontario

The marine and ocean industries contribute $20 billion annually to the Canadian economy and add up to 350,000 part-time and full-time jobs, especially in coastal communities.1 In support of Canada's ocean technology industries, NRC's Institute for Ocean Technology (NRC-IOT) provides a unique combination of knowledge, experience and world-class facilities.

Stern view of Samsung tanker model.
Stern view of Samsung tanker model.

Most recently NRC-IOT has begun evaluating a novel bow design for Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI). Samsung is a world-renowned shipbuilding company which designs and constructs vessels such as large passenger ships, drill ships, shuttle tankers and Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) carriers.

This research collaboration will attempt to address some of the issues around the relatively poor open water performance of traditional icebreaker bows. In order to break ice efficiently, icebreaker bows are designed to lift the ship up onto the ice and then use the weight of the ship to break the surrounding ice. These shapes, however, are not efficient when there is no ice present. As a result, the final hull shape must be a trade-off between the ability to move forward in ice and fuel consumption in open water. The compromise is challenging as most ships spend a greater amount of time in open water and only short periods of time in heavy ice conditions, where efficient icebreaking is essential.

NRC-IOT Cavitation Tunnel in<br />  St. John's, Nfld
NRC-IOT Cavitation Tunnel in
St. John's, Nfld

The new bow design tested in a range of ice conditions in NRC-IOT's 90-metre Ice Tank. With a usable ice sheet 76 meters in length, the Institute's Ice Tank is the longest in the world, providing more data per test run than shorter facilities. In addition, two Cold Rooms support ice-related research, enabling the measurement of mechanical properties of real and model ice.

The NRC-IOT facility is a natural fit for SHI's needs. SHI currently has five ice-class ships under construction and sees a strategic advantage to studying innovative hull shapes with the NRC. At the present time, most of the world's tonnage is built in Korea, where they have developed very efficient shipyards that can build a wide range of ship types, including ships for operating in ice. But, they lack in experience with the practical aspects of navigation in ice and saw partnering with NRC-IOT as a cost-effective way of obtaining efficient hull shapes.

NRC-IOT Project Manager, David Molyneux, says the agreement between Samsung (SHI) and NRC-IOT is mutually beneficial. For its part, NRC-IOT adds to Canada's knowledge base in ocean technology and gains recognition for its contributions to the field through joint publication of the results. Published results become part of the public domain available to any Canadian shipbuilding company. All the designs tested under the SHI / NRC-IOT agreement are for feasibility studies, prior to the development of detailed designs for specific customers.

The expertise gained by NRC-IOT on these projects will contribute to future Canadian projects, such as shipping ore from Voisey's Bay in Labrador, and tanker and Floating Production Storage Offloading (FPSO) units being constructed for east coast oil and gas production.

1Marine and Ocean Industry Technology Roadmap Special Report : Thinking Beyond Our Shoreline. March 13, 2003.

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