Icebreaking season 2022–2023 begins: The first icebreaker, Otso, leaves for the Bay of Bothnia on Sunday, 11 December.
Published 9.12.2022 15.52
The Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency has decided to send the first icebreaker to the Bay of Bothnia, Tornio, Kemi and Oulu on Sunday, 11 December 2022 by 12:00.
Otso is the first icebreaker to leave, and it will arrive in the Bay of Bothnia on Tuesday, 13 December.
At the beginning of the assistance period, the icebreaker will be operating in the northern part of the Bay of Bothnia. The first maritime assistance restrictions entered into force in Tornio and Kemi on 1 December 2022.
“As winter is progressing, we have also set the first assistance restrictions for the routes leading to the Port of Oulu. Once these enter into force (on 12 December 2022), we will also send the first icebreaker to the Bay of Bothnia as required by the icebreaking cooperation between Finland and Sweden,” says Jarkko Toivola, Head of Maritime Unit of the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency.
This winter, assistance restrictions will be imposed in ports depending on the ice conditions, following the same principles as in previous winters. The Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency has six traditional Arctia icebreakers and two multifunctional icebreakers at sea, as well as the Zeus of Finland by Alfons Håkans. In the current exceptional circumstances, assistance operations in Lake Saimaa will be carried out to the extent required by raw timber transportation within the lake.
The Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency is responsible for the national coordination of authority and customer tasks, for national coordination and for the decision-making on port assistance restrictions. The service providers maintain the icebreaking equipment and are responsible for supplying icebreaking services. Cooperation with the neighbouring countries, with which the shared use of the icebreaker capacity is agreed, is also important.
According to the service promise of the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency, the help of icebreakers is available within approximately four hours. Icebreakers do not only travel along the channels leading to ports. Countless vessels are also assisted on the open sea. The costs of winter navigation are approximately EUR 70 million per year, as all Finnish ports freeze during normal winters.
Senior Maritime Officer Tuomas Taivi, tel. +358 (0)29 534 3328 or [email protected]