Damen Shipyards has officially started the construction of the Swedish Navy’s four Ice-class harbour tugboats, designated as Stan Tug 1706 ICE vessels.

The start of construction was marked by a keel-laying ceremony held at Albwardy Damen shipyard in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE).

During the traditional ceremony, coins of the three countries, Sweden, the UAE and the Netherlands were placed together on a steel plate, which was then welded onto the hull construction.

It was performed by Swedish Defence Materiel Administration (FMV) Naval Division director Patric Hjorth, in the presence of other senior officials, representatives and dignitaries.

Hjorth said: “We are happy with the approach of Damen to answer all of our wishes and demands for the arrangement of these vessels.

“They have taken the performance fundamentals of a workboat to adapt these into a tailormade vessel that is equipped to military standards.”

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The order for Stan Tug 1706 ICE vessels was placed by Swedish FMV in June this year. Under this order, Damen was required to build a total of four Ice-class boats based on the design of its Stan Tug 1606.

The contract also included an additional option for two more vessels.

The FMV required the company to equip the new vessels with a wide range of equipment to meet the operational requirements of the Swedish Navy.

The hull of the new vessels has been designed to operate and navigate smoothy through ice. The boats will also be deployed in northern harbours, along the Swedish coast.

According to Damen, the Ice-class vessels can operate in extreme cold weathers, with temperatures as low as -20°C.

Delivery of the new vessels to the Swedish Navy is expected to start from next year.