The new vessels, one lead icebreaker and three linear icebreakers, are to be used in the lower Vistula area. The vessels in question are going to be built in line with the “design and build” formula. According to the Agreement, MSR “Gryfia” yard (being a part of the PGZ Group) is to design, build and equip the prototype vessels (one of each kind). Following the winter test programme, design documentation for the said vessels would be updated. And it would be another step to build and equip the remaining icebreakers. Within the framework of the agreement, Gryfia would also be bound to secure the required maintenance infrastructure for the vessels, in order to effectively conduct the icebreaking operations.
The lead icebreaker’s task will be to break the thick ice sheets and create breaks within the ice cover, meanwhile the linear icebreakers will have a purpose of making the chunks of ice smaller and widening the main route created by the lead icebreakers, also serving as means to break the ice in the areas remaining beyond the range of operation of the lead vessel.
Moreover, the new ships will be tailored for tug and SAR roles. The icebreakers will also be capable of acting as firefighting vessels via a connector supplying the systems of the object where the fire is being extinguished, and to be used in oil-spill scenarios, by carrying a drum with a containment dam. Each and every ship is also going to feature crew facilities and accommodation space for six-man crews.
The building process is going to be co-financed by funds provided within the Infrastructure and Environment 2014-2020 Operational Programme. The work performance deadline has been defined as the 4th quarter of the year 2021. The vessels will be built at the Szczecin-based facility. The whole process is going to be supervised by the Polish Register of Ships. This is yet another series of icebreakers that is being born at the MSR Gryfia facility. Back in 2014, similar 2 vessels, Stanisław and Andrzej, have been delivered for the Regional Water Authorities in Szczecin.
At the moment, the Gdansk Regional Water Authorities have five icebreakers at their disposal: Tygrys, Orka, Foka, Żbik and Rekin; the vessels’ age ranges from 24 to 31 years. The process of creating four new vessels is a part of the programme, the goal of which would be to refresh the icebreakers fleet in Poland, as they play an important part in flood protection of the lower Vistula region. In the Winter and in the early Spring the icebreakers protect the rivers from creation of ice dams that are a cause for the most dangerous form of flooding: the outburst floods.