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Finland's shipbuilding sector eyes deals from USA

10 May 2019, 09:56 ( 6 Months ago)

DF-Xinhua Report
File Photo VisitFinland.

Finnish icebreaking maritime industry is awaiting major deals from the United States as a result of the latter's increased interest in the Arctic. 

During the Arctic Council Ministerial Meeting in Rovaniemi earlier this week, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo delighted the Finns by saying on Finnish television that the State Department supports building six new polar icebreakers for the U.S. Coast Guard.

Finnish shipbuilding industries are leading experts in icebreaker maritime technology. Finnish national broadcaster Yle said on Thursday that Finnish companies were now looking for hundreads of millions of dollars worth of commerce.

The U.S. has currently one 43-year-old large polar icebreaker in service. One icebreaker has now been ordered from a wharf in Missisipi. Pompeo said in Rovaniemi that five more would be built.

In the U.S., icebreakers are considered military vessels and must have a 51 percent U.S. production input. The rest is open for tender.

Dozen of Finnish companies were awaiting sub-construction and consultancy deals, Yle reported. At the Sea-Air-Space fair in Washington this week, Kari Hietanen, vice president of the Finnish company Wartsila, told Yle that he was confident the Finns get "some kind of share" in the first ship.

The total cost of six ice breakers was given as four billion euros (about 4.49 billion U.S. dollars), according to Yle.

During the ministerial meeting, Pompeo warned the Arctic nations of possible influence from China and Russia in the Arctic, and pledged rebuilding the U.S. ice breaker fleet as part of the new moves.