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Time for Sea Trials

Botnia Enabler during sea trail
Words: Maritha Arcos
Photo: Henrik Sundkvist

Last week, WALLENIUS SOL’s newest vessel put to sea for her first sea trials. Since her launch, a series of tests and measures have been carried out to prepare her for the trials. Let us walk you through the events.

The first of WALLENIUS SOL’s two new vessels, Botnia Enabler, was launched in July 2021, and in October it was time for her sister ship, Baltic Enabler. The shipyard team reached the next major milestone last week, when Botnia Enabler left Yantai CIMC Raffles Shipyard for her first sea trials.

Much has happened in the months between the launch in July 2021 and trials February 2022. 

Henrik Sundqvist, Wallenius Marine

Henrik Sundkvist, Wallenius Marine.  Photo: Olof Holdar/Henrik Sundkvist

“It’s like commissioning a hospital; everything has to be tested and double checked. Cabins are furnished and systems put into operation simultaneously. For example, we cannot start the engines until we’ve made sure emergency stops, temperatures and pressures are all working properly,” says Henrik Sundkvist, Site Manager.

Inclining tests

When all systems are deemed seaworthy during mooring trials, the time comes for inclining tests. The mooring lines are slackened, and the ship is let out a little way from the quay before weight is shifted from one side to the other to measure the ship’s angle of heel and draught. 

“A great deal must be done by the shipyard to prepare the ship for inclining tests. The ship must be as good as finished and all loose equipment removed. Scaffolding, welding units, forklift trucks, scissor lifts, rubbish – it can add up to hundreds of tonnes. But it all got done in the end, and we carried out successful inclining tests,” says Henrik Sundkvist.

The scales of draughts is being checked

Picture 1/4: The scales of draughts marked at the bow and stern is being checked and the water temperature and density is confirmed.

Forklifts pushing the ship from the quay

Picture 2/4: Four forklifts training to push the ship out from the quay. For the inlicining tests the ship must be free in the water, without tensioned ropes. While the trucks are pushing the ship no measurements are being made.

Närbild på stäven

Picture 3/4: Close-up of the stem, you can see the ice-reinforced stem above the imaginary waterline.


The pendulum swing is checked for each weight transfer.

Picture 4/4: The pendulum swing is checked for each weight transfer. A taut steel line with a wight at the end hangs down from under the deck in an oil bath. During the inclining tests, there were three identical oil baths on the ship.

    Botnia Enabler has left port

    On February 14th 2022, the world’s biggest ice-rated multi-fuel RoRo ship, was finally put to sea for her first complete sea trials. Among those on board were seven members of the Wallenius Marine team, certification officials from Lloyd’s register, and a great many shipyard workers and technicians.

    It has been a long time of preparation, and finally we have completed the first sea trail. The ships movement at sea is pleasant and promising, I can imagine nice voyages when loaded with cargo,” says Henrik Sundkvist and continues:

    “During our six days at sea, we have put the ship’s speed, manoeuvrability, equipment and safety functions to the test. We want to make sure she is technically ready and meets specifications so that we can deliver a safe, reliable and efficient ship for its crew and owner.

    Yantai Port Tug Boat assistance during departure

    Picture 1/3: Yantai port tug boat assists during departure.

    Commissioning team reviews the sea trials procedures

    Picture 2/3: CIMC Raffles commissioning team reviews the sea trial procedures.

    The bridge of Botnia Enabler

    Picture 3/3: The bridge of Botnia Enabler

      Unlike conventional vessels, WALLENIUS SOL’s new multi-fuel ships will undergo two sets of sea trials instead of one. The first trials concern operations on low-sulphur gas oil (Marine Gas Oil – MGO), and during the next sea trials the ship will run on LNG. 

      Following the final trial, the shipyard will have a number of weeks to action any items before handover and the long-awaited maiden voyage back home to the waters of the Gulf of Bothnia. Delivery of the first vessel is scheduled for the first half of 2022.