Spring Is Here, but Icebreaking Continues19.03.2018
Astronomical spring begins today, but icebreaking in Estonian waters continues. In the Gulf of Finland, ice conditions became more difficult on 16 March when northern winds pushed ice from Finnish waters into Estonian waters. Currently the wind is blowing from the west and southwest and ice is moving eastward. East of Vaindloo Island ice conditions are rather complicated, with lots of hummocked ice, and most vessels require icebreaker assistance to get into the ports of Kunda and Sillamäe.
The I/B Botnica is operating in the Gulf of Finland in the region around the ports of Kunda and Sillamäe, having assisted ships on 38 occasions since 22 February. The I/B Tarmo replaced the Botnica for three days at the beginning of March, assisting ships in 4 instances and using 47,000 litres of fuel. In total, about 350,000 litres of fuel has been used for icebreaking activities in the Gulf of Finland. The Tarmo is currently on standby in Hundipea Harbour.
In the bay of Pärnu, fast ice reaches 20 miles southwest of piers of the Port of Pärnu. The thickness of the ice in the bay is 15 to 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, either in ballast or loaded, need icebreaker assistance. The Irbe Strait (Kura kurk) and the whole western part of the Gulf of Riga is covered with ridged ice, but due to the western winds the area is becoming partly ice-free. East of Ruhnu Island there is open water or very little ice and ships can move freely. In Pärnu Bay, the MA multi-purpose vessel EVA-316 has provided icebreaking service on 81 occasions; tugs belonging to Alfons Hakans assisted vessels in 103 instances. In total, assistance has been required 184 times and 240,000 litres of fuel has been used.
Update on Icebreaking Operations in Estonian Waters: EVA-316 in Pärnu Bay and Botnica in Gulf of Finland09.03.2018
The Gulf of Finland is covered with ice 10 to 20 cm thick and partly hummocked east of Tallinn-Helsinki route, but the bays of Tallinn and Muuga are still ice-free.
Since 22 February, the I/B Botnica has been performing icebreaking operations in the vicinity of the ports of Kunda and Sillamäe, having assisted 21 ships and used 180,000 litres of fuel. The I/B Tarmo replaced the Botnica at the beginning of March for 3 days, assisting vessels on 4 occasions and using 47,000 litres of fuel.
Since March 4, the Maritime Adaministration’s vessel EVA-316 has been breaking ice again in Pärnu Bay. The tug Protector, which replaced the EVA-316 while the latter was under repairs, assisted ships on 101 instances. In Pärnu Bay, the icebreaking operations have required 161,000 litres of fuel so far.
The ice sheet on Pärnu Bay reaches 20 miles SW from the piers of the Port of Pärnu, the thickness of the ice is 15 to 25 cm and it is heavily hummocked on the edge of the ice sheet around 2.5 to 3.5 miles towards the sea. All ships in the area require icebreaker assistance. Northeast winds have carried ice into the Irbe Strait (Kura kurk) and all vessels in ballast have difficulty moving in the region. Formation of new ice has been noted all over the Gulf of Riga and so far the recommended route to the Port of Pärnu has been south of the Island of Ruhnu.
Icebreaking continues both in the Gulf of Finland and Pärnu Bay.
In the picture: EVA-316 at Hundipea Harbour (Photo by P. Põiklik)
Vessel Traffic Reopened in Väinameri North of Virtsu-Kuivastu Fairway and South of Rohuküla-Heltermaa Fairway02.03.2018
On the basis of an application from the Road Administration, as of 1 March 2018, vessel traffic has been reopened in the West Estonian archipelago north of Virtsu-Kuivastu fairway and south of Rohuküla-Heltermaa fairway. The Road Administration submitted the application due to the ice conditions which are unsuitable for ice roads.
This decision was also taken because of the need to temporarily rearrange the ferry service between the mainland and Hiiumaa Island, as the level of sea is currently extremely low in Rukki kanal on the Rohuküla-Heltermaa route and a new line will be opened between Heltermaa and Virtsu to ensure the transportation of people and goods to and from the island.
In the sea area east of the Sõru-Triigi fairway, and west of the Munalaid-Kihnu fairway in the strait of Kihnu Väin, as well as in Haapsalu Bay south of Seasaar Island and east of Rohuküla-Sviby fairway, vessel traffic is still prohibited for the time being.
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