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The icebreaking season begins: Otso to leave for the Bay of Bothnia on 3 December by decision of the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency

Published 2.12.2021 12.05

At the beginning of the assistance period, the area of operation of icebreaker Otso will be in the northern part of the Bay of Bothnia. The first maritime assistance restrictions will enter into force on 4 December 2021. Otso will reach the Bay of Bothnia at the weekend and primarily ensure traffic for Tornio, Kemi and Oulu.

“As winter is progressing, we have set the first assistance restrictions for the northernmost ports of the Bay of Bothnia. Once these enter into force (on 4 December 2021), we will also send the first icebreakers to Saimaa and 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.

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 Saimaa, Calypso and Protector by Alfons Håkans and Meteor by Rauma Cata will also assist with the icebreaking work.

At this point, the icebreaker Meteor is leaving Rauma for Saimaa, and Calypso retrieving a motorised detachable icebreaking bow from Kotka. Both icebreakers will arrive in the area at the end of the week.

During the upcoming winter, assistance restrictions will be imposed on ports according to the ice situation in accordance with the principles similar to previous winters.

Information about the assistance and ice situation (

Instructions for winter navigation in Finnish, Swedish, English and Russian.

Learn more about the motorised detachable icebreaking bow

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 60 million per year, as all Finnish ports freeze during normal winters.

For more information, please contact:

maritime expert Tuomas Taivi, tel. +358 (0)29 534 3328 or [email protected]