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This winter's first icebreaker is heading for the Bay of Bothnia

Published 25.12.2020 16.05

By decision of the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency, the icebreaker Kontio was deployed towards the Bay of Bothnia on 25th December. The winter is forecast to be mild.

At the beginning of the icebreaking season, Kontio will be operating in the Bothnian Arc. The first assistance restrictions for sea areas will enter into force on 27th December 2020.

The winter navigation service number has been activated. The number +358 50 471 4850 is intended for the management of operational affairs outside office hours.

“Based on long-term forecasts, we would seem to have a mild winter ahead of us, or, in terms of surface extent 70,000–100,000 km²,” estimates Senior Ice Expert Jouni Vainio from the Finnish Meteorological Institute.

“The ice extent largely depends on winds and subzero temperatures during the peak period. In practice, ice would cover the Bay of Bothnia, the Kvarken and the eastern Gulf of Finland, and there would also be some ice on the coastal regions and in the Gulf of Riga area. At present, it seems that the ice cover would reach its highest extent at the turn of February and March.”

At sea, the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency has at its disposal Arctia Ltd's six conventional icebreakers and two multi-purpose icebreakers and Alfons Håkans’ Zeus of Finland. Alfons Håkans’ Calypso and Protector and Rauma Cata Oy's Meteor provide assistance in the Lake Saimaa region. In addition, the Agency has in its use the just finished motorised detachable icebreaking bow Saimaa – first of its kind in the world – on Saimaa area and tugboats providing assistance in sea areas.

This winter, traffic restrictions will be imposed in harbours depending on the ice conditions, following the same principles as in previous winters. Information about assistance and the ice conditions: www.baltice.org.

On winter navigation website you can find, for example, instructions on winter navigation in Finnish, Swedish, English and Russian.

Further information:
Tuomas Taivi, Senior Maritime Officer, tel. +358 29 534 3328 or [email protected]