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Piloting in the Arctic seas of Norway

In the far north of Norway, deep inside the Arctic Circle, Buksér og Berging ensures ships can come into harbor safely. It’s a role that requires skill, courage and high-performing equipment. Thanks to Volvo Penta IPS, the job is made easier, more reliable and efficient.

Piloting in the Arctic seas of Norway
Skipper Knut Charles OlsenSkipper Knut Charles Olsen

“My job is to transport maritime pilots to and from ships in an efficient and safe manner,” says Knut Charles Olsen, who works as a skipper at Buksér og Berging. “I deliver pilots who board the ships and provide expert knowledge on our waterways to the vessels that come to Tromsø, such as cruise ships, c­­­­argo vessels and fishing boats. This is a job where you need to be at exactly the right place at exactly the right time.”

Tromsø, where he is stationed, is located in the northernmost part of Norway, 350 kilometers above the Arctic Circle. That means that the sun doesn’t peak above the horizon for two months in the winter and does not set for two months of midnight sun in the summer. The city has a scenic and dramatic location, surrounded by fjords and mountains and boasts impressive wildlife. 

The pilots in Tromsø harbor operate night and day in all kinds of weather, always ready to assist visiting vessels.The pilots in Tromsø harbor operate night and day in all kinds of weather, always ready to assist visiting vessels.

However, as stunning as the location is, in Knut Charles Olsen’s line of work, it can be a hazardous environment to work in too. “When you operate 24/7, in high speeds and in extreme weather, then a high-performing and 100 percent reliable boat is essential,” he adds.

The boat he operates is a Kewatec Pilot 1820, powered by Volvo Penta IPS, an integrated propulsion system. It’s one in a series of seven vessels that Buksér and Berging uses for this purpose. Standard equipment in the cabin of a pilot boat includes extensive navigation and communication equipment, radar systems, night vision cameras and an eco-sounder. And a coffee machine of course.

The Kewatec Pilot 1820 is powered by Volvo Penta IPS, a complete propulsion system that’s integrated from the helm station to the propellersThe Kewatec Pilot 1820 is powered by Volvo Penta IPS, a complete propulsion system that’s integrated from the helm station to the propellers

“The most important quality of this boat is the maneuverability. You have constant power and it’s easy to maneuver both sideways and backwards. When it’s really tough weather conditions it’s very challenging to get up alongside another boat to pick up a pilot. But we can trust this boat in any weather condition,” explains Knut Charles Olsen.

Volvo Penta IPS provides several advantages. Fuel consumption has dropped by around 30 percent. Apart from having a positive impact on their finances, this also improves their environmental footprint considering that the boat escorts over 1,000 ships and travels 42,000 nautical miles per year. The noise level is also lower compared to the boats they operated previously, that didn’t have Volvo Penta IPS.

Volvo Penta IPS offers excellent maneuverability, fast acceleration, lower noise levels, and improved fuel efficiencyVolvo Penta IPS offers excellent maneuverability, fast acceleration, lower noise levels, and improved fuel efficiency

For Buksér og Berging, innovative technology and design are important when scouting for suppliers. “That is something we feel that Volvo Penta really stands for, as well as reliability and good service,” says Ida Rist-Christensen, Commercial Manager Pilot Transportation. “We have reduced our fuel consumption considerably, there are fewer components which will mean less maintenance issues, and finally, great maneuverability in combination with fast acceleration which is really important for our operations.”

Facts: Buksér og Berging

Buksér og Berging AS (BB) is a privately-owned company that has been providing marine services since 1913. It currently operates 35 vessels for harbor duties and offshore support from its offices in Lysaker and Stavanger, Norway. It also operates a fleet of 24 high performance pilot boats stationed at 16 pilot stations along the Norwegian coast. BB’s services include harbor towage and ship escort, offshore support and marine contracting, salvage and emergency response and sea transport for Norwegian pilots.

Volvo Penta IPS (Inboard Performance System)

Facts: Volvo Penta IPS (Inboard Performance System)

Volvo Penta IPS is a complete propulsion system that’s integrated from the helm station down to the propellers. It delivers great maneuverability, fast acceleration, low noise levels, reduced emissions, and improved fuel efficiency compared to traditional propulsion systems.

Learn more about the Volvo Penta IPS package used in the Kewatec Pilot 1820 boat:


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Engine and propulsion Volvo Penta IPS 900
Top speed 35 KN
Fuel capacity 2600 liter
Displacement 21.5 T