Finland’s Newest Oil Spill Response Vessel

The Baltic Sea’s newest multi-purpose oil and chemical spill response vessel equipped with Lamor’s newest oil spill recovery (OSR) technology and solutions, YAG Louhi, begins operations in the Gulf of Finland in mid-2011.

Commissioned by the Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE), the €48 million YAG Louhi is based at the Port of Upinniemi approx. 40 kms west of Helsinki in the archipelago. The vessel is operated by the Finnish Navy. Louhi is equipped to sail in the Baltic Sea all year round and it can reach a speed of 15 knots and even through a 50 cm (20 in) thick ice cover, it can travel at 8 knots.

Lamor’s Sales Director, Finland & Baltics, Juha Muhonen explains: “The multipurpose vessel Louhi has been fitted with several of our newest technologies that none of the other 14 Finnish oil response ships have, although they are also equipped with efficient OSR technology. For example, Louhi, with our side mounted skimmers, is capable of collecting 1,200 tons of spilled oil during just one trip,” he says.

“Moreover it can also perform chemical recovery without placing its crew at risk of encountering a cloud of toxic chemicals,” says Inspector at SYKE, Jouko Pirttijärvi.

One vessel, three functions

For efficiency and cost effectiveness, SYKE strategically opted for a multi-purpose vessel. “Thus the newly built vessel for environmental protection duties can be said to comprise of “three vessels”, i.e. it has the features of three vessels: A basic vessel, corresponding to a simplified freight vessel, a vessel fulfilling the requirements of SYKE’s mandate regarding environmental incidents and a vessel intended Navy missions,” says Pirttijärvi.

“As the primary mission of the new vessel is pollution prevention, the ship has an extensive array of recovery equipment capable of collecting spilled oil in open water, high seas and ice conditions,” says Muhonen.

Louhi’s oil recovery is based on the Lamor brush skimming technology. “Louhi has three different types of Lamor brush skimmers: in-built brush conveyor belt-type skimmers, bucket skimmers mounted on cranes and free floating offshore skimmers with umbilical hose reel” Muhonen describes.

The ship has also been equipped with new SYKE innovations: ice brushes that are mounted on the aft deck of the vessel, to collect oil in ice conditions. Another new technology is a wave-absorption tank, which enables oil collection even in a two-meter swell.

To fulfill these three vessel requirements in only one, the 71 m long vessel was a challenge. “The general arrangement and equipment layout of the vessel was crucial, since the competence of the installation works makes the forthcoming functioning of the vessel depend on this. The ship designer ILS accomplished this task very well whilst working together with the various government agencies involved and with Lamor. The general arrangement of the vessel includes a 300m² large working-deck in the stern, enabling storage space for containers with various equipment etc,” says Pirttijärvi.

In addition to environmental duties, Louhi will be used as a support ship for underwater operations by the Finnish Navy. The vessel has facilities for divers and remotely-operated underwater vehicles (ROVs), and it can be used to lay sea cable, which is stored in the ship’s recovery tanks. “During crisis time the ship, capable of carrying 1,000 tons of fuel and 100 tons of cargo, can be armed with a main gun, machine guns and naval mines and used to supply island forts and other naval vessels,” adds Pirttijärvi.

Oil recovery operations in the Gulf of Finland

All government-owned oil recovery vessels in Finland are capable of independent oil recovery i.e. they are permanently fitted with built in oil recovery systems. The principal strategy is to skim the oil from the water surface as quickly and completely as possible, so the oil can be reused or destroyed in an appropriate manner.

Aerial surveillance plays an important role in guiding the recovery vessel into the thickest part of the slick so that the oil can be recovered as quickly and efficiently as possible, and its drifting to the shore can thus be prevented. Pirttijärvi continues: “It is impossible to visually estimate from the vessel where the thickest parts of the slick are, but the infrared camera in the aircraft can detect them easily. Due to inherent characteristics of oil, about 90 % of the oil in a slick is concentrated on an area that is only about 10 % of the total area of the spill.”

Responding and preparedness

SYKE’s responsibilities consist of responding to environmental incidents (oil and chemical spills) as well as monitoring the marine environment.

Since the 1990s, oil transported in the Gulf of Finland has increased from 15 million tons/yr to 155 million tons/yr in 2010. SYKE therefore decided there was a definite need for Louhi to be built to tackle any oil spills resulting from the increase in oil transport, size of tankers etc. This increase in oil transport was due to the new Russian oil terminals that became operational, increasing the amount of oil transported in the vulnerable sea area considerably.

Pirttijärvi describes: “While Finland already had a fleet of vessels with oil recovery equipment, none of them were fully capable of operating efficiently in heavy seas or in ice. Louhi is designed to be capable of recovering spilled oil and chemicals in both open water and ice conditions, extinguishing shipboard fires and emergency towing of ships operating in the Gulf of Finland. The new vessel also has sufficient icebreaking capabilities to assist oil tankers and other vessels.”

“Due to the sensitive ecology of the Baltic Sea it was agreed at the Helsinki Convention (HELCOM – Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission) that instead of using dispersants to dissolve the oil slicks, the combating of the oil spills is based on mechanical recovery using oil booms to contain the spill and skimmers to collect the oil from the surface as quickly and completely as possible,, this is where our expertise comes in at Lamor,” says Muhonen.

Name: Louhi
Owner: Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE)
Operator: Finnish Navy
Ordered: 2007
Builder: Uudenkaupungin Työvene Oy
Cost: 48 million euros
Christened: March 8, 2011
Commissioned: May 2011
Identification: Call sign: OJBP, MMSI 230616000
Type: Oil recovery vessel
Displacement: 2,200 tons (lightship)
3,450 tons (max)
Length: 71.4 m (234.3 ft)
Beam: 14.5 m (47.6 ft)


Height: 24.0 m (78.7 ft)
Draught: 5.0 m (16.4 ft)
Ice class: 1A Super
Main engines: 4 × Wärtsilä 9L20 (4 × 1,800 kW)
Propulsion: Diesel-electric, 2 × Rolls-Royce azimuth thrusters (2 × 2,700 kW)
Speed: 15 knots in open water, 8 knots in
50 cm (20 in) ice
Range: 6,000 nautical miles
Endurance: 20 days
Capacity: 1,200 mᵌ for recovered oil, 200 mᵌ for chemicals. Sweeping width 45m.
Crew: 15; accommodation for 40 personnel
OSR equipment: Lamor Corporation and SYKE
Armament: Can be armed during crisis

Lamor Scope of Supply:

Vessel oil recovery system (including the design of the recovery system):
2 x Oil Recovery System LORS 10C 3600-brush
2 x Oil Boom Winder and Guiding Boom with support
2 x Control Panel
2 x RF control
2 x Suction Impeller system
2 x Jib Automatic LJA telescopic

Oil Transfer pumps:
6 x Oil Transfer Pump GT A 115 system with water injection (inlet+outlet)
6 x Hy-hoses 1”, 15m (10000/7500/drain)
2 x Oil Bagging System (400 l)
1 x Oil Transfer Pump GT A 50 system with water injection (inlet+outlet)
Umbilical hose system:
1 x Umbilical hose 95m transfer hose + hy-hoses + water injection + electrical cable
1 x Hose reel
1 x Hose feeder
1 x Sheave
1x Telescopic hydraulic extension
800 m Sea oil booms, height 2000mm
8 x Heavy Duty Oil Boom HDB 2000/100m
4 x Reel Heavy Construction HSR H 1822
4 x Towing set HDB 2000
1 x Hydraulic Air Blower 200
2 x Hydraulic Hose 3/8″ x 10m, Tema 3800
2 x Hydraulic Hose 3/8″ x 10m, Tema 5000

Gas detection meters
4 x Dräger X-am 700

100 m3/h High viscous oil skimmer
1 x LFF 100 Skimmer Zone 0
60 m Hydraulic Hose + Oil Transfer Hose Set for LFF
1 x Oil Transfer Pump GT A 115
1 x Hose reel HSR L

400 m3/h Medium to high viscous oil skimmer
1 x Brush Skimmer Free Floating 400 W
60 m Hose Set for LFF 400, 60
1 x Oil transfer pump MSP 150
1 x Hose reel HSR L 1514 SWIVEL

1500 mm Wide oil recovery bucket
1 x Oil Recovery Bucket LRB 150
1 x Tilt arm for LRB 150
1 x Oil Transfer Pump GT A 50

3000 mm Wide oil recovery bucket
1 x Oil Recovery Bucket LRB 300
1 x Tilt arm for LRB 300
1 x Oil Transfer Pump GT A 140
1 x Oil Transfer/Hydraulic Hose Set for LRB 300

High pressure washers
1 x Diesel Hi-Pressure Cleaner Alto Contractor
1 x Hydraulic Hi-Pressure Cleaner
1 x Hydraulic Power Pack LPP15L/SNP017
2 x Hydraulic Hose 3/8″ x 15m, Tema 3800
1 x Electric High Pressure Cleaner Alto Neptune 4-54

Diesel driven portable fire pump
1 x Teho Esa D m Diesel Driven Fire Pump
1 x Hydraulic Power Pack 35.8 kW

Portable ex-proof diesel generators
1 x Hydraulic Power Pack LPP 30D

Rescue clearing equipment
1 x Hydraulic Pump Lukas PS-6R
1 x Universal Spreader Lukas Century LSP 30 T
1 x Hose Winder DSH 20

Emergency pumping system
3 x Container 10 ft aluminum
1 x Oil transfer pump MSP 150
1 x Oil transfer pump MSP 200
2 x Oil Transfer Pump GT A 50
18x12m Selection of Hydraulic Hoses
6 x Hose Winder 4
1 x Hydraulic Power Pack 110 kW
100 m Oil Transfer Hose 4” Multi-Oil Blue composite
1 x Hose Winder
200 m Oil Transfer Hose 6”

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