In 2004 Sweden's largest icebreaker Oden assisted the high-profile research mission of Arctic Coring Expedition, ACEX. The mission was to drill about 450 meters into the sediment of the seabed of the Arctic Ocean at 1200 meters water depth. The sediment cores will be used for reconstruction of the environmental history over the past 56 million years in the Artic. Prior to this extremely demanding mission, the control system onboard Oden was upgraded by ABB.
Like driving into a brick wall
Deep-sea drilling from a ship is problematic. Once the drill reaches the seabed, the drill ship must keep its position within a few tens of meters. To keep station, not being caught up in the drifting sea-ice, the drill ship needs assistance from icebreakers.
For this reason Oden and the nuclear driven Russian icebreaker Sovetskiy Soyuz worked day and night to keep the drilling vessel Vidar Viking free. The Russian ship broke large ice floes into bergy bits, while Oden crushed them into pieces of the size the drilling ship could withstand while drilling. Old multi-year ice floes are thick and tough – colliding with them is like driving into a brick wall.
The control system on board Oden corresponds to a fairly large industrial plant. Everything is controlled, from the four giant engines to the cooling, heating, ballast tanks, water pumps, ventilation, electrical supply, power generation, and lighting.