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Icebreaking Season Almost Over


On Monday, 20 March 2016, spring began and thus the winter navigation season is drawing to a close. The ice conditions are letting up on Pärnu Bay: the ice edge is about 8 NM SSW from the piers of the port, there are large moving ice floes, and last weekend ships could move without icebreaker assistance. The thickness of the ice sheet varies from 10 to 30 cm and ice hummocks can be found. The MA multi-purpose icebreaker EVA-316 is monitoring traffic on radar and gives directions over the radio if needed.

The EVA-316 has been carrying out icebreaking operations since January 10. During this period, it has assisted ships entering and leaving the Port of Pärnu in 233 instances and used 372,000 litres of fuel.

According to Mr Martin Kaarjärv, icebreaking coordinator of the MA, the winter navigation season in the Gulf of Riga and Pärnu Bay will probably end this week or at the beginning of next week. In the Gulf of Finland, it is already over, with the I/B Tarmo in Hundipea Harbour and the I/B Botnica in Paljassaare Harbour. The latter gave assistance to ships entering and leaving the Port of Sillamäe in 10 instances this winter. All traffic restrictions have been cancelled.

Vormsi Winter Road Won’t Be Opened


As the weather conditions are unsuitable for opening a winter road in the Väinameri Sea to connect the mainland and the island of Vormsi, the Director General of the MA has issued an order to reopen vessel traffic in the area between the Rohuküla-Sviby fairway and the line connecting the cape Pinukse neem on the mainland and Obholmen on the southeast coast of Vormsi Island.


Ice Conditions in Estonian Waters


The MA’s multi-purpose vessel EVA-316 is operating in the Gulf of Riga and Pärnu Bay. Currently, the ice cover with a thickness of about 10 to 20 cm reaches up to 25 NM in the direction of SSW from the piers of the Port of Pärnu. About 10 NM from the open sea towards the piers of the port lies the area of heavily hummocked ice which cannot be passed by vessels without an icebreaker.

From that area on up to the piers of the port lies fast ice with a thickness of about 15-30 cm in which a channel has been broken by the icebreaker. Since the beginning of the winter navigation season on 10 January, the EVA-316 has assisted vessels entering and leaving the Port of Pärnu on 191 instances.

In the Gulf of Finland, icebreaking started on 21 February near the Port of Sillamäe. The I/B Botnica operated for three days, helping seven ships, and then remained on standby in the Port of Sillamäe, because the winds changed and removed the unpassable ice from the area. However, the Botnica was needed again on 6-7 March in the vicinity of the Port of Sillamäe, as the winds from the northeast brought huge ice formations near the ports of Kunda and Sillamäe and the island of Vaindloo, so that ships could no longer move on their own. The Botnica serviced two vessels and returned to the Port of Sillamäe where it can give instructions over the radio to ships navigating in ice. So far, the Botnica has assisted nine vessels altogether during this season.

The waiting time for icebreaker services does not exceed two hours in Pärnu Bay or in the Sillamäe area.

Click in the picture to see the latest ice report on the Baltic Icebreaking Management webpage.


20.02.2017 Icebreaking Begins in Gulf of Finland
14.02.2017 Winter Road Being Planned Between Mainland and Vormsi Island
06.02.2017 Six Shipping Accidents Registered by MA in 2016
24.01.2017 Two Weeks of Icebreaking Operations in Pärnu Bay
24.01.2017 New Journal of Maritime Administration Affairs Available

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