The Norwegian Coast Guard vessel KV Svalbard has become the first Norwegian ship to reach the North Pole, while was on an international environmental research expedition. The KV Svalbard is a relatively small icebreaker equipped with ABB’s Azipod® propulsion system, making it the first-ever Azipod®-powered ship to reach the North Pole.

The 1,400 nm voyage to the North Pole came just 7 days after the ship’s departure of Longyearbyen. At times the vessel traveled through polar ice packs at speeds of up to 6 to 7 knots. According to the Norwegian Coast Guard, the vessel reached 90° north at 09.32 LT on Wednesday, August 21.

Built in 2001, KV Svalbard, is equipped with twin 5MW Azipod icebreaking units. The Azipod propulsion system, where the electric drive motor is in a submerged pod outside the ship hull, can rotate 360° to increase maneuverability, which is particularly essential for vessels operating in icy waters.

Azipod® icebreaking propulsion can break up to 2.1m thick Arctic ice and has a proven ability to cut fuel consumption up to 20 percent compared to traditional shaft line propulsion systems.

With its advanced technology, superior performance in the toughest marine environments and environmentally-friendly electric operation, ABB’s Azipod® propulsion system has become an industry standard for ice going vessels, enabling them to cross the Northern Sea route independently.

ABB has continually improved Azipod® over the past 30 years, resulting in higher efficiency and lower emissions. This means that a ship consumes less fuel driving the generators which provide electric power to the Azipod®. Lower fuel consumption means reduced CO2 emissions. That’s important because the global ferry industry, which transports 2.1 billion passengers annually, is under pressure to meet the IMO’s target of reducing annual emissions by 30% by 2025.