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Freezing Nights at the End of March and Beginning of April – Icebreaking Continues

According to weather forecasts by the Estonian Weather Service, below zero temperatures are to be expected at least up to the beginning of April. The ice conditions in the Gulf of Finland at the moment depend mostly on the direction of winds. Currently, icebreaking operations are being carried out in the vicinity of the Port of Sillamäe where all vessels need icebreaker assistance for around 20-25 miles. The I/B Botnica has assisted ships in 54 instances so far, using up to 390,000 litres of fuel.

In Pärnu Bay fast ice reaches 20 miles SW of the piers of the Port of Pärnu; ice thickness in the bay is still 15-35 cm, with hummocked ice on the edge of the ice sheet around 2.5 to 3.5 miles towards the sea. All vessels in the area need icebreaker assistance.

The Irbe Strait (Kura kurk) is mostly ice free; only a few ice fields can be found and are easily avoided by traffic. The same applies to the Gulf of Riga.

In Pärnu Bay the state-owned icebreaker EVA-316 is providing assistance, which has serviced vessels on 105 occasions since the beginning of the icebreaking season. Tugs belonging to Alfons Håkans assisted vessels in 103 cases. In total, assistance has been required 208 times and 270,000 litres of fuel has been used.

In the picture: I/B Tarmo in dock in September 2016 (photo by Kaarel-Peter Sillat)