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Marine Log

Norilskiy Nickel

July 17, 2006

Aker books more Arctic orders

Aker Yards has signed a contract with Russian mining company Norilsk Nickel for delivery of four container/cargo ships for arctic operations, with an option for a fifth newbuilding.

The order of Aker Yards' Business Area Merchant Vessels has a total value of approximately EUR 320 million (US$ 405 million) for four vessels.

The order follows Norilsk Nickel's recent deployment of the first vessel of this type, MS Norilskiy Nickel.

MS Norilskiy Nickel was built as a prototype in a cooperative project between the Aker Yards Group's shipyards in Helsinki and Warnemunde, Germany.

The newly contracted vessels are scheduled for delivery by Aker Yards' German shipyards from the third quarter of 2008 through the first quarter of 2009.

These highly specialized container/cargo vessels traverse ice-covered seas without icebreaker assistance, using the double-acting hull form and propulsion system developed and patented by Aker Yards.

Crossing waters with heavy ice conditions, the vessel moves stern-first to break its way through ice 1.5 meters thick. When returning to light ice conditions or open waters, the vessel turns 180 degrees and sails traditionally, bow-first.

The diesel electric (3 x 6,650 kW) Norilsk Nickel vessels are powered by a podded, azimuthal propulsion system.Speed: 15.5 knots in calm water (with 9,000 kW shaft power)

The fleet solution provided by Aker Yards' double-acting vessels significantly improves Norilsk Nickel's operational efficiency. The vessels can navigate Arctic Ocean routes unassisted year-round; the company's current cargo fleet requires the deployment of icebreakers in winter. The vessels contracted by Norilsk Nickel transport metallurgical products from Dudinka, on the Yenisey river, to Murmansk.

The vessels in the newbuilding series ordered by Norilsk Nickel are 169 meters long and 23.1 meters wide.

With a drauft of nine meters for winter deployment under heavy ice conditions, their deadweight tonnage is 14,500 (summer: 10 m draft; 18,000 t).

Container stowage capacity is some 650 TEU; containers with non-standard dimensions and other cargo can also be transported.

Helsinki-based Aker Arctic, established optimal design, performance, cost, and technological solutions for the vessel through several feasibility studies and ice model tests.

MS Norilskiy Nickel has successfully demonstrated its performance and logistics efficiency on the Dudinka - Murmansk route since it went into service in April 2006.

The decision to order four additional (plus one option) double-acting vessel newbuildings also follows up on the successful ice trials of the Norilskiy Nickel in the Kara Sea area in March 2006.

The vessel exceeded all contractual performance requirements. It showed excellent sea-handling and moved efficiently through ice ridges with depth of more than ship's own draught as well as the flat, 1.5-meter-thick ice specified in the vessel's newbuilding contract.

Jurgen Kenneman, President of Aker Yards' Merchant Vessels business area, comments: "This contract represents an important step in repositioning Merchant Vessels to deliver more specialized and innovative vessels. The Norilsk Nickel deliveries capitalize on Aker Yards' unique technologies and experience in designing and building cost-effective ships that operate under harsh arctic conditions."

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