Icebreaker Otso left Arctia’s Katajanokka base in Helsinki for deployment in the Bay of Bothnia on Friday 13 December. At the start of the season, Otso’s assistance area will cover the waterways of Tornio, Kemi and Oulu. Due to this year’s colder than average waters in the Bay of Bothnia, the icebreaking season begins approximately two weeks earlier than in the previous winter.
Arctia’s icebreakers operate in Finland’s coastal waters, securing winter navigation which is vital to Finland’s business sector as approximately 90% of the country’s export and 80% of import is transported by sea. Icebreaker crews are at work around the clock, seven days a week. The crews are changed in intervals of 10 days, and at the same time, the vessel is refuelled and its water and food reserves replenished. When Otso sets off for the Bay of Bothnia, it is loaded with 1,066,000 litres of low-sulphur light fuel, 230,000 litres of water and rations for 10 days.
In the previous icebreaking season, the conditions in the Bay of Bothnia were particularly challenging and variable as a result of hard wind and shifting ice.
“This season, we’re anticipating a mediocre winter. When freezing and windy periods take turns, icebreakers assist commercial vessels struggling in the midst of hard ridged ice, brash ice barriers and the crushing force of hard ice. We are well-prepared for the icebreaking season and eager to set off for the Bay of Bothnia. In the spring, we will have more detailed information about the winter’s conditions,” states Mr. Seppo Eva, Master of IB Otso.
For icebreaking ships as technology and fleet by country see at CruiseMapper