After three days of sailing, we arrived in the Gulf of Bothnia on Saturday afternoon. This northernmost sea between Sweden and Finland freeze over in winter, and this is where we will conduct the sea trials.
We are performing sea trials in ice with two offshore anchor handling tug supply (AHTS) vessels. Magne Viking, the vessel I am on, has ice class but is not an icebreaker. This means it can sail and break ice in light ice conditions, due to its reinforced hull. The other vessel, Tor Viking, is an actual icebreaking AHTS. So we send that one in front when we are sailing to break the ice.
Today has been a busy and exciting day on board. We have performed the first test trials in the ice and tested a lot of the equipment. In addition, we had really nice weather, which is always a nice bonus.
The main part of the trials is that we will be moored while in the ice, while Tor Viking breaks the ice around us (called ice management). Ice management reduces the loads from the ice on the moored vessel (us) by breaking the large ice floes in smaller ones. This is critical, otherwise the moored ship can in worst case be pushed so much by the ice that it goes under when it is connected on the anchor.
The trials were very successful, and everyone had large smiles on their faces today.