Arctic FoxTail passes Svalbard tests

New oil spill response device capable of cleaning up spills in arctic conditions and contributing to Norway’s spill preparedness. Dubbed Arctic FoxTail, the new device is a new winterised version of H Henriksen’s standard Foxtail mop skimmer.

The Norwegian authorities are committed to protecting its marine environment and have many years’ experience with oil spill preparedness. Nevertheless, the adoption of new devices and technology are considered crucial to improving arctic marine safety and environmental protection.

As part of its efforts to enhance Norway’s oil spill preparedness, the Norwegian Clean Seas Association for Operating Companies (NOFO) and Norwegian Coastal Administration (NCA) launched its ‘Oil spill Response 2015’, inviting vendors to develop equipment to handle oil spill recovery in arctic conditions. H Henriksen’s Arctic FoxTail proposal was accepted and development of the prototype started in 2016.

Filtering out oil spills from the seawater using its sorbent mops, FoxTail VAB is already well known throughout the maritime industry and capable of salvaging large quantities of oil after a spill, without much unnecessary water.

Following recent testing onboard MS Polarsyssel in Longyearbyen, Svalbard, H Henriksen released its new device, a major redesign of its standard VAB (Vertical Adhesion Band) model with integrated transfer pump, insulated cover and a hydraulic heating system. During testing, the new device proved capable of stable and continuous operation in sub-zero arctic conditions.

“Operating in the arctic conditions is a challenge in any segment of the maritime industry, as these regions are both inhospitable and environmentally sensitive,” says Trygve Egenes, Managing Director of Tonsberg-based H Henriksen.

The scope of the project was to widen the weather window in which oil can be taken from the water with skimmers. The old skimmers are very redundant to the sea state and weather and have proven their ability; however, cold weather will reduce their efficiency when ice starts growing on the machines. This ice-growth mainly comes from sea-spray.

The standard FoxTail operates in -6°C, compared to the new Arctic Foxtail which can operate -21°C under the same sea temperature and wind conditions. H Henriksen is now delivering the first Arctic FoxTail to the Norwegian Coastal Administration.