ABB modernization adds 20 years’ service life to Canadian icebreakers

20 December, 2017 (Quebec, Canada) – The modernization of CCGS Pierre Radisson has been successfully completed in an upgrade program that will ultimately cover 10 ships in the Canadian Coast Guard fleet.

Pierre Radisson

Pierre Radisson2Pierre RadissonABB has successfully concluded the first modernization on a Canadian Coast Guard (CCG) icebreaker, installing the latest hardware and software onboard the 38-year-old CCGS Pierre Radisson as part of the complete upgrade to the ship’s propulsion power distribution system that entailed the installation of twelve new DC-Drives and complete Propulsion Control System. The contract includes the option to amend the modernizations of two other ships in the CCG fleet, CCGS Des Groseilliers and CCGS Amundsen, both of which have clocked up more than 30 years of service.

Ultimately the project also kicked off a fleet life extension program that will see ABB upgrading 10 of the CCG’s 13 High Endurance Multi-Tasked Vessels as well as Heavy and Medium Icebreakers, which conduct major search and rescue operations and play a vital role in keeping the shipping lanes of northern Canada ice free. The upgrades will take place in succession between now and 2020 while the vessels are afloat and docked at their homeports, in partnership with a domestic specialist in electrical systems integration.

Nathalie Pilon, President ABB in Canada, said: “We are delighted the Government of Canada selected ABB to support the Canadian Coast Guard in a project of this magnitude and importance for the nation’s maritime infrastructure and we look forward to building upon and continuing a longstanding cooperative relationship that will safeguard the fleet for many years to come. Investment in the icebreaking segment has grown in recent times. Reflecting its long history of working with icebreakers, ABB stands at the forefront of this regeneration.” Pierre Radisson3Pierre Radisson

Pierre Radisson

Modernization of CCGS Pierre Radisson was needed because the original power system, installed 38 years ago, was approaching end of life. While the upgrade will see the vessel retain its existing control arrangement of six AC alternators with rectifiers to supply direct current to the motors through upgraded breakers and contactors, the installation of the new ABB Drives will improve availability and extend endurance, allowing the ship to spend more time at sea.

Specifically, ABB fitted twin AC/DC Diesel-Electric propulsion systems for greater redundancy, with each featuring a DC electric motor connected directly to the vessel’s propeller. ABB also took the opportunity to attach digital sensors to a variety of onboard equipment to provide its shore-based expert engineers with a virtual presence on board the ship to help diagnose problems at any time. ABB’s Remote Diagnostic Service will significantly improve maintainability and contribute to reduced vessel down time.

Pierre Radisson

Pierre RadissonPierre RadissonJuha Koskela, Managing Director of ABB’s Marine and Ports business unit, said: “When CCGS Pierre Radisson was constructed in the late 1970s, ship to shore connectivity was mostly limited to radio. The Internet as we know it today simply did not exist. Today ships are digitally tethered to shore by satellite, which enables greater shore-side involvement and flexibility in vessel operations. The pivot to digital promises innumerable opportunities for the CCG’s icebreakers to operate safely and perform their missions more effectively.

“We are proud to be working closely with the Canadian Coast Guard to help them maintain safe and reliable vessel operations for years to come. CCG vessels operate in harsh environments carrying out a variety of important missions year-round. By delivering improved vessel endurance together with round-the-clock Remote Diagnostic Service, we can support them in fulfilling those duties.”


(ABBN: SIX Swiss Ex) is a pioneering technology leader in electrification products, robotics and motion, industrial automation and power grids, serving customers in utilities, industry and transport & infrastructure globally. Continuing more than a 125-year history of innovation, ABB today is writing the future of industrial digitalization and driving the Energy and Fourth Industrial Revolutions. ABB operates in more than 100 countries with about 136,000 employees.

For more information please contact:

Media Relations,BU Marine & Ports
Cecilie Heavens
Phone: +47 95767438

Media Releations, ABB Canada
Dalla Rashid
Phone: +1 438 843 6401

800 Boul. Hymus
Saint Laurent
H4S, Quebec, Canada