The ice cover of the Baltic Sea Motorway varies considerably from year to year. The northern parts freeze every winter. In a hard ice winter it freezes completely. Despite climate change, hard ice winters occasionally occur in the Baltic Sea.
Even the current icebreaker fleet available in the Baltic Sea is incapable of providing a satisfactory level of service in a hard ice winter. The combination of growing traffic volumes and hard ice winter will mean serious difficulties for industrial and commercial transports.
Some of the current icebreaker fleet will reach the end of its lifespan in the 2010s. It is evident that replacement investments will not yield a satisfactory level of service in hard ice winter conditions. Considering the growing traffic volumes, a satisfactory level cannot be reached even in an average ice winter. A large oil tanker, for instance, requires simultaneous assistance from two traditional icebreakers that together are capable of breaking a sufficiently wide channel through the ice.
The objective of the proposal is to find out what benefits can be attained in the level of service of icebreaking assistance, in logistics and especially in oil transports, and with regard to environ-mental emissions and risks, by
a) adopting the new technical solutions, and/or
b) utilising the new type of agreement system
The new technical solutions may be the innovations that are alone capable of breaking a suffi-cient wide channel also for overwide merchant vessels, e.g. oil tankers. The technical solutions have already completed but not introduced.
The new agreement system to be developed would be based on the utilization of icebreaking capability of independently ice-going merchant vessels. It is important that jointly accepted rules could be enforced for cases where the capacity of conventional icebreakers is not sufficient.
Call for proposal
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Funding SchemeCP-FP - Small or medium-scale focused research project