Nordica comes in from the cold for a fresh coat of durable paint

Posted on September 15, 2023
Categorised as uncategorized

The icebreaker MSV Nordica, owned by Arctia, is known for its role in securing Finland’s winter maritime transport. Following the icebreaking season, Nordica underwent maintenance at the Turku Repair Yard in May. A ship travelling through ice is exposed to severe mechanical stress, so during drydocking the underwater hull and topside of the icebreaker were treated with a new, durable coat of paint.

Arctia Oy

Arctia Oy is a Finnish state-owned company offering a wide range of maritime services. It is particularly recognised for its fleet of icebreakers, an indispensable part of Finland’s winter maritime infrastructure. In addition to icebreaking, the company holds expertise in fairway maintenance and hydrographic surveying, playing a significant role in maintaining and securing waterway connections.

Arctia’s experience extends long way back into history, to the establishment of the Finnish Pilot and Lighthouse Authority. By combining its extensive experience with modern technology, the company is able to provide its maritime clients with sustainable and suitable solutions.

Arctia’s icebreaking fleet consists of eight icebreakers: Polaris, Otso, Kontio, Voima, Urho, Sisu, Fennica and Nordica as well as the harbour icebreaker Ahto. The most recent addition to the fleet is Polaris, the world’s first icebreaker to use liquefied natural gas (LNG) as a fuel.

In addition, Arctia’s fleet includes seven hydrographic survey vessels, three fairway vessels suitable for heavy marine operations, one Oili class vessel suitable for medium-heavy tasks and several fairway maintenance vessels as well as a versatile hydraulic engineering fleet. Arctia’s vessels are designed to operate in challenging conditions, equipped with the latest technology to perform their tasks efficiently and safely.

Multipurpose vessel

Arctia’s MSV Nordica is a powerful icebreaker with characteristics ideal for tasks that require manoeuvrability and precision. This multipurpose icebreaker is capable of performing highly demanding tasks in environments such as oil and gas fields anywhere in the world. Like its sister ship, the Fennica, the ship meets the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s strict environmental and emission requirements, making it an ideal choice for operations in Arctic areas.

Drydocking at Turku

MSV Nordica underwent drydocking maintenance at the Turku Repair Yard in May. During the docking, the underwater hull and topside of the icebreaker were repainted. A few tanks also received a new coating. One of the ship’s propeller units was also replaced. Painting, replacement of the propeller unit and other work carried out at the shipyard are related to the re-inspection of the ship, which is done every five years.

The docking took place outdoors, which posed its own challenges to the painting process. Environmental conditions determine the schedule and scope of the repair. In outdoor dockings, it is necessary to react quickly to changes in temperature and humidity.

During the docking of the Nordica, the environmental conditions were surprisingly good. The daytime temperature varied between +12 and +20°C, with nights being slightly cooler, and it only rained on a few days during the docking.


Before painting, the areas to be painted were high-pressure washed (approx. 300 bar) in order to remove water-soluble salts and other impurities. In this maintenance, water washing was possible because the air temperature was above 0°C during the docking.

After washing, the damaged areas were blast-cleaned to Sa 2½. In addition, edges of existing paint were feathered in order to have the best possible corrosion protection at the overlap of old and new paint.

Painting process

The ice-going Nordica is exposed to really high mechanical stress, which is why the paint surfaces of the ship’s underwater hull and topside require regular maintenance.

The underwater hull was maintenance-painted with Jotun´s solvent-free Marathon IQ2 epoxy coating. The bottom painting was carried out as touch-up painting, i.e., only the damaged areas were treated. After pre-treatment, the bottom was painted with Marathon IQ2 1×500 µm.

The topside paint reinforcement area (above waterline) was painted with the Baltoflake – Normadur 65 HS painting system. A glassflake-reinforced unsaturated polyester coating, Baltoflake, was chosen as the primer because an extremely wear-resistant primer was desired for protection of the bow area. This part of the icebreaker is subjected to the maximum mechanical stress.

The topside was maintenance-painted with Jotacote Universal N10 and Normadur 65 HS. The topside was also painted as touch-up painting in terms of the primer. After pre-treatment, two coats of Jotacote Universal N10 epoxy primer were applied. After the repairs made with epoxy, the topside was washed to remove impurities and then painted with Normadur 65 HS polyurethane topcoat.

The painting process was carried out within 24-hour overcoating intervals. Most of the maintenance painting was done with Jotacote Universal N10 because it also cures in the cold and the product can be overcoated quickly. This time the docking conditions were pleasant, but the product choice also had to be able to cope with worse conditions.

Products used

Marathon IQ2 is Jotun´s breakthrough solution for ice-going vessels. It combines smoothness and toughness to provide the best hydrodynamic efficiency for icebreakers and ice-going vessels. Marathon IQ2 is an environmentally friendly and user-safe product. It doesn´t contain phenol or solvents. It also has improved application properties and is applicable by single-feed standard airless spray.

Baltoflake is a glassflake-reinforced unsaturated polyester coating. It is an ultra-high build, extremely abrasion resistant and fast curing barrier coating. The bow area of ​​the icebreaker comes into contact with ice, so a coating that can withstand very severe mechanical stress is needed. Baltoflake is recommended for areas subject to extreme mechanical wear and harsh exposure conditions and where future maintenance is challenging.

Jotacote Universal N10 is a polyamine cured pure epoxy coating. It is a fast drying, high solids and high build, abrasion resistant product. It is specially designed as a universal, all-round, all-year, newbuilding and maintenance coating where fast dry-to-handle times are required. It can also be applied at sub-zero surface temperatures. Typical uses in the marine industry for Jotacote Universal N10 are exterior and interior areas, including outside hulls, superstructures, decks, cargo holds and water ballast tanks.

Read more on Protective Coatings Expert.

© 2024 Corrodere | Registered in England No. 1538180 | VAT Registration No. GB 237 5708 46