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Innovative Icebreaking Concepts for Winter Navigation

Final Report Summary - ICEWIN (Innovative icebreaking concepts for winter navigation)

Executive summary:

The need of icebreaking assistance depends on many factors such as severity of ice winter, prevailing winds, technical characteristics of merchant ships and traffic frequency. Therefore, due to limited icebreaking resources the variation in the level of service is wide. Sometimes the ships have been forced to wait for icebreaker assistance, up to several days. Under the present situation, the competitiveness of the northern Baltic Sea countries undermines in relation to other European Union (EU) Member States.

In the project has been found out how the level of service of icebreaking assistance could be im-proved. The work focused on the winter navigation of the entire Gulf of Finland. Main results of the study can be summarised as follows:

- icebreaking capacity in the Gulf of Finland is not utilised efficiently, when looking at the winter navigation of the whole Gulf of Finland;
- by means of the new type of agreement concepts the level of service can be improved even by the present icebreaking resources;
- characteristics of the existing commercial fleet have a crucial role in icebreaking need.

The icebreaking capacity could be used more effectively in the Gulf of Finland in a case Finland, Estonia and Russia would cooperate in icebreaking assistance. Under certain circumstances, the attainable benefit would be up to the capacity of two icebreakers in the whole Gulf of Finland. The same level of service would be achieved even by two icebreakers less.

The level of service can be improved also by means of the new types of agreement concepts. Some ship owners have at their disposal merchant vessels to run also independently on ice conditions. The new types of agreement concepts developed in the project are based on the exploitation of these strong merchant vessels for assisting other ships on the same route. The new proposed agreement concepts are the following:

keeping fairways open on daily routes (e.g. ferries, RoRos);
- exploitation of characteristics of strong merchant vessel to assist other ships;
- winter time icebreaking charter;
- innovation support for higher investments;
- Super++ ice class.

From the point of view of operation, the first two concepts represent an innovative approach to the contracting issue. However, the introduction of these concepts requires a reformation of the relevant existing laws and regulations.

Based on the results of the project it is recommended that the European Commission (EC) will take into account the current situation and:

- promote measures which enable the exploitation of the icebreaking resources as efficiently as possible;
- initiate measures to reform the acts and regulations providing for the introduction of the new types of agreement concepts;
- promote measures which encourage the acquisition of vessels with good ice characteristics.

In the project the simulation tool has been completed. The effects of different factors (route and port network, increasing traffic, technical characteristics of ships, number of icebreakers, ice and wind conditions and agreement concepts of icebreaking) on the level of service of assistance, use of resources and emissions can be investigated by means of simulations. Practically, the simulation tool is the only available method for the assessment of effects in level of service.

Project context and objectives:

Both real life situations and also the earlier research have shown that in the winter navigation a satisfactory level of icebreaking assistance cannot be reached in the Gulf of Finland, even in an average ice winter. The combination of growing traffic volumes and even the average ice winter mean serious difficulties for industrial and commercial transports. Despite the climate change, hard ice winters occasionally occur in the Baltic Sea. The hard ice conditions together with the expected growth of traffic make the situation still worse.

The objective of the project was to find out what benefits can be attained in the level of service of icebreaking assistance, by:

- utilising a new type of agreement systems / concepts;
- adopting the new technical solutions (related mainly to the Gulf of Finland and oil trans-ports).

The new agreement concepts to be developed would be based on the utilisation 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.

The new technical solutions are the innovations that are alone capable of breaking a sufficient wide channel also for over wide merchant vessels, e.g. oil tankers. These kinds of the innovative concepts are, for example, oblique icebreaker, trimaran icebreaker.

There are different systems to finance the icebreaker operation in the Baltic States. The icebreaking costs are usually covered with ice due, that is collected together with a shipping route fee or a harbour fee. The ice due is collected all over the year. The fee depends on type of ship, tonnage, ice class of ship or emissions.

In winter time, there are usually restrictions for operating ships given by local authorities. The ship has to have a certain ice class and deadweight in order to operate on ice. This is necessary for to ensure rapid assistance and safe winter navigation.

Current ice fee and icebreaking system does not support ship owners to invest in advanced ice going technology. Shipping business is guided by economical laws. In the Baltic Sea the share of 1A Super (best ice class) merchant ships has decreased year after year. Rising fuel costs and the expected additional cost (sulphur dioxide SOx) will reduce the willingness of ship owners to invest on engine power, or to use engine power to independent ice going (in that case a merchant vessel preferably invites “free” icebreaking assistance). In future, the Energy efficiency design index (EEDI) will hinder building of merchant ships stronger than minimum power of 1A Super. This kind of trend is of concern to the limited icebreaking resources.

In the Gulf of Finland a significant growth is expected in the transports of crude oil, oil products, chemicals and new cars. Export transports are growing more than import transports. In the Baltic Sea region the share of sea transports is relatively larger compared to the rest of Europe. In Baltic Sea Region, approximately 50 % of foreign trade is transported by sea.

It is also important to understand the effects on the economy of the countries surrounding the Baltic Sea in the case where icebreaking resources are insufficient. For countries, such as Sweden, Finland, Estonia, the Baltic Sea is an important mean of transport, both for their import and export. Hence, if due to scarce resources icebreaking activities would be hindered or even stopped, this would seriously affect the economies of the countries surrounding the Baltic Sea. An objective was to develop a methodology to estimate these effects on the economies of the countries depending on transport over the Baltic Sea.

Due to the effects of above-mentioned EEDI and increasing traffic the need to icebreaking assistance will increase.

Icebreaking issues are raising to the real challenge about that the coastal countries, trade and industry should be concerned. Therefore, it is important to develop methods to estimate the need of assistance. The effects of different factors (route and port network, increasing traffic, technical characteristics of ships, number of icebreakers, ice and wind conditions, and agreement concepts of icebreaking) on the level of service of icebreaking, use of resources and emissions can be investigated by means of simulations. Practically, the simulation tool is the only available method for the assessment of effects in the level of service.

Project results:

1. Traffic on the Gulf of Finland

Based on forecasts and interviews of the port authorities the growth estimation of Finnish and Estonian ports has been forecasted to be 33 % from 2009 till 2015 on the Gulf of Finland. Russian cargo volumes are estimated to grow by 32 %. Due to the opening of totally new terminals in Port of Ust Luga the majority of the growth of Russian cargo volumes is concentrated in Ust Luga.

Oil products, industrial products, building materials and chemicals will dominate the trade on the Gulf of Finland. A significant growth is expected in the transports of new cars, oil products and chemicals. Export transports are growing more than import transports. In the Baltic Sea Region, the share of sea transports is relatively larger compared to the rest of Europe. In BSR approximately 50 % of foreign trade is transported by sea.

Real port call statistics were acquired from Finnish, Estonian and Russian maritime administrations and port authorities. There were approximately 18 500 ship calls (without scheduled passenger ships) during December 2009 - May 2010 in the ports of Gulf of Finland. These ship calls together with the scheduled passenger traffic were the reference traffic data for the simulation tool calculating level of service of icebreaking assistance in different cases.

2. Effects on economy of different countries

Firstly was made a review of oil reserves held by the relevant countries and an assessment of the importance of oil transports from Russian ports to other parts of Europe. The analysis focussing on the elements determining the importance of an oil supply interruption showed that the possible effect is likely to be small, or even negligible. The main reasons for this result were that:

- most likely oil transport would be given priority when icebreaking resources are insufficient;
- on average, only 10 % of total oil consumption in the EU could be hindered;
- alternative oil supply sources are feasible for most EU countries;
- the use of the 90 day oil reserve is a valid option for such a local, seasonal disruptions.

Other goods than oil products are likely to be affected more as:

- these goods are less likely to get priority assistance;
- the availability of large reserves up to 90 days in the case of oil products is less likely.

Countries most likely to be affected most are Sweden and Finland as they rely to a great extent on imports and exports via the Baltic Sea. Products likely to be affected the most are products for which a modal shift to rail and / or road is more difficult due to their nature (e.g. wood products), their volumes (e.g. paper, board) and due to the lack of infrastructure.

The economic review focused on the effects on the economy of the countries surrounding the Baltic Sea in the case where icebreaking resources are insufficient. For countries such as Sweden, Finland, Estonia, the Baltic Sea is an important mean of transport, both for their import and export. Hence, if due to scarce resources icebreaking activities would be hindered or even stopped, this would seriously affect the economies of the countries surrounding the Baltic Sea.

The objective was to assess the effect of three scenarios (mild, average and severe ice winter) by developing a methodology, using the general equilibrium model Environment-dependent interatomic potential (EDIP) model, to estimate these effects on the economies of the countries depending on transport over the Baltic Sea.

Table 1 shows both the relative effects on GDP and social welfare for the six countries. The effect on GDP is, as expected, the largest for Finland. If icebreaking services are interrupted, GDP would decrease with about 2.9 % in mild winters up to 6.8 % during average and severe winters. Remember that for Finland the scenario average is the same as the severe scenario. Imports and exports to and from Poland and Lithuania are assumed only to be stopped during severe winters and even then, the effect on GDP is rather limited (around 0.5 %).

The effect on social welfare follows the effect in GDP, but not completely. For Sweden, Estonia, Lithuania and Poland the effect on social welfare is larger than the effect in GDP, while the reverse is true for Finland and Latvia. In the severe scenario, the effect on social welfare relative to the initial income is the largest for Sweden with a decrease of 5.58 %. In the mild scenario, the effect on welfare is limited to 1.64 % for Finland.

3. Present agreement systems in countries of the Baltic Sea

There are different systems to finance the icebreaker operation in the Baltic States. The icebreaking costs are usually covered by ice due, that is collected together with a shipping route fee or a harbour fee. The ice due is collected all over the year. The fee depends on type, tonnage, ice class or emissions of a ship.

In winter time there are usually restrictions for operating ships given by local authorities. The ship has to have a certain ice class and deadweight in order to operate on ice. This is necessary for to ensure rapid assistance and safe winter navigation.

In all nations the principal idea of taking care safe and smooth winter navigation is quite similar. At first the sea and port areas are equipped with purpose built icebreakers. Secondly there are technical requirements for all ships carrying cargo (ice classification). The intention of the requirements is to make the navigation safe and in some nations also smooth (powering requirement).

The latter requirement has proved to be somewhat effective for the purposes of making the navigation smooth and less requiring icebreakers assistance. This has been one target in the powering or performance requirements and fee policy, especially in Finland which is the only country giving reduction in fees based on vessel's performance capability.

The safety of the navigation is always the first priority, however, for commercial shipping economic reasons are driving the development. With today's technology and fairly large cargo ships with high power and ice going capacity, it is clearly foreseen that reduction in icebreaker capacity could be achieved with suitable fee and icebreaker system policy, at the same time taking care both for the safety and environmental friendliness. Following proposed concepts are created to drive the development into this direction.

4. Proposed new agreement concepts of icebreaking services

One aim of the ICEWIN project was to identify and to innovate new types and ways of how the icebreaking assistance could be organised. Six new icebreaking service concepts created in the project are introduced. The new concepts are thought to be such that they provide remarkable benefit for the winter navigation and icebreaking operations in general level.

Some of the concepts have been developed by the project partners and some are based on interviews of interested parties. The new concepts are following:

- Super++ ice class;
- keeping fairways open on daily routes;
- assisting other ships, short waiting in the channel;
- assisting other ships, deviation from own route;
- winter time icebreaking charter;
- innovation support (for higher investment).

A general opinion of most interviewed stakeholders towards the concepts was promising and many positive effects of the new concepts were seen and recognised.

The application of the new concepts would require national changes in legislation and further definition and complete studies on the navigational risks possible involved and a solution for the responsibility in cases of damages or failed operations.

Super++ ice class

In Finnish-Swedish ice class rules the highest ice class is noted 1A Super. This ice class has the highest structural safety requirements as well as performance requirement for ship to be able to sail minimum 5 knot speed in frozen (10 cm) ice channel. In practice this means that only some ships which have high power requirement for other reasons are capable for the independent navigation and not requiring the support of the icebreaker in significant amounts.

The proposed idea is to make an additional higher ice class with technical specifications for improved ice going capability, clearly above the requirement of 1A Super. This requirement should be such that ships in principal do not require any icebreaker assistance, but instead they are self-capable to operate in typical maximum ice conditions and able to open the ice leads also for other vessels. There are already some practical examples of this type of ships: strongly powered Ro-Ro ships, strong fast ferries (Helsinki-Tallinn) and some special tankers (Neste Shipping) and few other ships.

Keeping fairways open on daily routes (ferries, Ro-Ros)

As mentioned before some ship owners have already ships which are strong enough and not requiring the icebreaking assistance in normal winter conditions. Typically these ships are sailing on fixed routes and timetable traffic. The timetable is also one of the drivers to build such ships which are capable to keep the schedules. Obviously the economic loss for missing the schedules would be bigger than for higher investment for these stronger ships.

With these types of ships it is possible to keep the ice channels opens in their daily routes. For today, this kind of icebreaking work is not compensated by any means but anyway gives a potential way to look at this more carefully. The proposed concept is simple where the ships sail their normal routes but do not have to change their voyage plan for any icebreaking operation. They just will keep the ice channels more navigable for the other ships and thus are already reducing the icebreaker operation in the particular areas and routes. Furthermore they are reducing the costs for the icebreaking.

Assisting other ships, short waiting in the channel

This concept is continuation of the previous model where technically the requirements would be same. The main difference is operational. In the concept a strong ship may or should wait for other ship/s to enable the weaker ship to follow in the freshly opened route. The concept requires operational system (Vessel Traffic System or local port) to instruct the ships involved and also creates additional costs for the assisting vessel in lost time for waiting or keeping a reduced speed.

However, the assisting ship does not make any deviation from its intended voyage, for the reasons of assisted vessels.

Assisting other ships, deviation from own route

This concept is further continuation of the previous model. In the concept an assisting ship can also make a deviation from its own voyage plan. This would also result more costs for the assisting ship, but at the same time better service capability for the assisted ships.

Winter time icebreaking charter

This concept is quite close to existing systems in nations which charter the icebreaking service. Already the 1990s multipurpose icebreaker concept was developed, where the icebreaker does some other service during summer time. The model is similar, where the ship owner should have a vessel which is capable of real icebreaker operation, including assistance of other ships and even towing arrangements. The ship owner makes a charter agreement where the ship is making only icebreaking during the charter period. The period may vary from few days to several months depending on cases and other functions of the vessel. However, as to the commercial point of view the charter period should be reasonably long in order to make the economic sense for the ship owner.

The vessels having lighter icebreaking capability the period could be shorter. The fundamental idea is that ships which have the icebreaking capability should be used in ice during winter, and the weaker ships could transport goods in more southern and open sea. This would provide nationwide effective use of existing capacity in the winter time.

Thus the agreement concept should make a distinction between the individual vessel capability and level of compensation in the icebreaking charter agreement. In this connection more details concerning the technical capability are not discussed, but in the ICEWIN project the overall operation and economic benefit can be revealed.

Innovation support (for higher investment)

The main idea of this concept is to encourage the ship owner to build ships which have the good ice going capability. A way is to provide an investment support by the government or a special controlled fund. The assessment concerning requirements and obligations of the ship owner should be afterwards controlled by the investment support provider, and also the legal non-competitive laws should be taken into account. The way of making this could be an open public call for the support with common rules in the Baltic countries or by an individual nation.

5. Suitability of the proposed new agreement concepts

Based on the interviews of the stakeholders the suitability of different ship types according to the proposed agreement concepts has been presented in the table 2.

As it was noted before, the legislation changes would be required if new models / concepts would be taken into use. The indicative summary on the different nations and the suitability of the concepts has been presented in table 3. The table must not be read as very binding, but it gives on indication how easily the new concepts can be fitted into existing systems.

The summary of the opinions on the suitability of the proposed new winter navigation agreement concepts has been presented in table 4. The opinions were collected in personal interviews with the shipping companies and maritime administrations. In addition, the practical views on the operations with ships in the proposed systems were collected from various experienced persons with relevant knowhow on the winter shipping navigation.

The study revealed that the increase in traffic via the eastern ports of the Gulf of Finland will further create larger potential for ice caused problems than today's situation. At the moment there are no signs of improved ships power and ice navigation capability, on the contrary new emission requirements for low sulphur fuel and EEDI index will bring less powerful ships in to the Baltic market. It is expected that in case of severe and even average winter the traffic problems and risks will be in-creased compared to the present situation.

6. Simulation tool

One of the aims of the ICEWIN project was to develop and programme a simulation tool describing the need and the level of service for icebreaking assistance. In addition to conventional icebreaking assistance characteristics according to new type of agreement concepts were constructed in the simulation tool.

The simulation tool is based on the discrete event simulation technique. By means of the tool it is possible to gain useful information about the winter navigation in different circumstances that otherwise are practically impossible to test in the real life. By means of the tool, runs of the ships and different kind of assistance systems (conventional icebreaking, icebreakers making a wide channel, present and new type of agreement system) can be simulated on the route network.

The simulation tool is designed to model the winter time ship traffic on the Gulf of Finland and the associated icebreaking service. The tool is based on discrete event simulation, where every ship is represented by an entity travelling in the route network. The simulation tool was implemented using the simulation software Micro Saint Sharp version 3.5.

Basic principles of the simulation tool

The ship traffic in the model was based on the real traffic during the winter 2009 - 2010. During that winter, the real ice season started in beginning of January. Moreover, there was a harbour strike in Finland in March, which interrupted all traffic to Finnish ports for several weeks. Therefore 1 January - 28 February 2010 was chosen as the simulation period. In the model, each ship is characterised by its:

- ice class;
- machine power;
- breadth;
- speed over ground (SOGow) in open water;
- ship type for emission calculations.

The ice conditions on a leg are represented by its ice thickness. Ice data for the winter 2009 - 2010 were received from the Finnish Meteorological Institute and processed by VTT. Data from different locations and different points in time were mapped to the nearest leg in ten day periods. For each leg and ten day period an average ice thickness and standard deviation of the thickness measurements was received.

When a ship arrives in the beginning of a leg, the simulation determines: Does the ship need ice-breaking assistance?
- Yes: Is there any icebreaking resource available?
Yes: Reserve the icebreaking resource and continue in assistance travelling with a constant speed SOG ass = 8.5 kn.
No: Wait for the icebreaking resource to be available.
- No: Continue on the leg using a speed determined by the SOG function.
The icebreakers are modelled as resources that can be taken in use by the ship entities, i.e. whenever an icebreaker is free, it is available for any ship anywhere in the model. When a ship in assistance is no longer in need of an icebreaker, it releases the icebreaker. The icebreaker will then be available for other ships after a quarantine time (90 min), which represents the average time required for the icebreakers to travel from one assistance task to another. If a ship is in assistance, other ships can also join the convoy.

The simulation model can be run taking into account both only traffic from and to one country (Finland, Russia or Estonia) and for any combination of two countries or for all traffic altogether.

The simulation model calculates also the gas emissions caused by the ship traffic. The emissions of CO, NOx, SOx, CO2 and particles (EC, OC, ash, SO4 and associated H2O) are calculated, as well as the total fuel consumption. For each emission type, there is a database for the emission per second based on the ice thickness, the speed and type of the ship and whether the ship is in assistance or not. The icebreakers are excluded from the emission calculation.

For each test setting, the simulation tool can be run with different numbers of icebreakers to examine the effects of different icebreaker fleets, both for one individual country and for the whole Gulf of Finland. The tool has also the capability to assume that ships exceeding a certain breadth would need two icebreakers or an extra wide one.

Different winters can be represented by altering the ice thickness input data. Here, a severe winter was represented by manipulating the 2010 ice data. The effects of other traffic volumes can be simulated by altering the traffic data input (ships to be added / removed to / from the traffic of each port).

New icebreaking concepts can be examined with the model. In the concept of a ship deviating from its own route to assist others, the ship is temporarily suspended while assisting. In this scenario, all ships with ice class 1ASuper except tankers and passenger ships would be assisting others if needed. When such a ship meets a waiting ship, its journey is temporarily suspended and starts to assist the other ship. The assistance task ends when an icebreaker becomes available, the assisted ship does not anymore need assistance or when the assistance has continued over the agreed time limit (e.g. 2 hours). The assisting ship can then continue its journey after the same amount of time has passed as spent assisting.

Main results by the simulation tool

In order to validate and calibrate the model (simulation tool) its results were compared to available real data of the reference ice winter 2010. Icebreaker service performance data for the Finnish ice-breakers were received from IBNet . These were compared to simulation results taking into account only Finnish traffic and icebreaking events using the same number of icebreakers as were in use during the simulation period.

Calibrating results achieved by means of the simulation tool have proved to be accurate compared to the existing statistics of the reference winter. The ice winter 2009-2010 in the Baltic Sea was categorised as an average one.

The focal result derived from the simulations was that the icebreaking capacity could be used more effectively in the Gulf of Finland in a case Finland, Estonia and Russia would co-operate in icebreak-ing assistance. Under certain circumstances, the attainable benefit would be up to the capacity of 2-3 icebreakers in the whole Gulf of Finland. The same level of service would be achieved nearly even by three icebreakers less.

In the conditions of the ice winter 2009-10 average waiting times of the merchant ships fluctuated between 5.4 and 5.8 hours in case each country manages icebreaking service by oneself. According to the table it can be seen that, if the service would be managed in co-ordination with the coastal states, nearly same level of service (average waiting time of 5,7 hours) could be reached by eight icebreakers instead of eleven used icebreakers.

Now, using the tool it was possible to test the new agreement concepts. The results showed that there are also potential advantages from the new icebreaking concepts, where ships assist others in ice.

Assisting other ships, deviation from own route”. Here is assumed that all valid (independent ice going capability) merchant vessels, excluding scheduled passenger ships and tankers, would give assistance according to the rules of the agreement concept. In practise hardly all ship owners would not be ready to join the agreement, whereupon the whole fleet hardly could not be utilised. Anyway, as can be seen from the table there is a remarkable potential for shorter waiting by utilising the existing merchant fleet.

Main results deriving from the simulations can be summarised as follows:

- icebreaking capacity in the Gulf of Finland is not utilised efficiently, when looking at the winter navigation of the whole Gulf of Finland;
- by means of the new type of agreement concepts the level of service can be improved even by the present icebreaking resources;
- characteristics of the existing commercial fleet have a crucial role in icebreaking need.

Potential Impact:

At present, a significant part of ships in the winter traffic belongs still in the best class 1A Super. However, the number of these ships has continuously been declining in recent years.

Fuel costs and maritime environmental regulation will limit the capability of merchant vessels for independent ice going. Rising fuel costs and the expected additional cost (sulphur dioxide SOx) will reduce the willingness of ship owners to invest on engine power, or to use engine power to independent ice going (in that case a merchant vessel preferably invites free icebreaking assistance).

In future, EEDI will hinder building of merchant ships stronger than minimum power of 1A Super.

Due to above-mentioned and the increase in traffic the need for assistance of merchant ships will continue to grow. This kind of trend is of concern to the limited icebreaking resources.

The results of the project confirmed the view that there will be, deriving the progressive trend, significant impacts on the focal issues of winter navigation in the area of the Baltic Sea.

Therefore, planning and development work would be focused on following issues of the strategic level:

- assisting principles (inter alia new agreement concepts);
-international cooperation, key countries are Finland, Sweden, Estonia and Russia;
-definition of level of service of assistance (common standard on the Baltic Sea);
-prioritisation (e.g. wintertime ports, is it reasonable to assist to all ports in every winter?);
- ice going capacity of future merchant vessels;
- spur (tax support, state / EU subsidy) for investments on better ice going technology;
- shipping route fees;
- cost correlation between route fees and number of icebreakers (investments, operating);
- costs of maritime transports in the Baltic Sea (inter alia effect of EEDI, SOx, NOx);
- development of traffic information / control system.

In addition to the results of the project the developed simulation tool can be utilised in great many cases where impacts of various factors of icebreaking assistance will be wanted to test. In practice the tool is the only way to get reliable information from different scenarios. All focal stakeholders in the northern Baltic Sea countries have been informed of the project and its results. The outcomes have attracted keen attention. According to feedback to have been got the new agreement concepts and co-operation between coastal states will be discussed undoubtedly on vari-ous platforms in the near future.

The outcomes of the project have been disseminated so that information and knowledge have reached many people and organisations, particularly main stakeholders in the area of the northern Baltic Sea. According to the dissemination plan the outcomes will yet be presented in the following yearly expert meetings:

- Baltic icebreaking meeting in next autumn 2012 (cooperation meeting for the organisations of icebreaking).
- Ice day in next winter 2013 (International expert conference on winter navigation).

In addition, VTT has connected information of the project outcomes with VTT's information services related to the Baltic Sea research. The press release will yet be published before the beginning of the next icebreaking season 2012-13.

The national maritime administrations have recognised the challenges of the icebreaking assistance. All year around navigation is also a prerequisite for the development of the Baltic Sea region. In the EU strategy for the Baltic Sea region one cornerstone is to make this part of Europe more accessible by improving transport links. In the strategy is emphasised to ensure a sufficient level of involvement from Russia. Also, the issue of clean shipping is in focus for a range of measures.

There are a number of challenges within the area of winter navigation and icebreaking that are to be addressed. Implicated countries Sweden, Finland, Estonia and Russia are preparing under the leader-ship of Swedish Maritime Administration a developing work focussing on horizontal icebreaking issues of wider benefit. The development work will consist of several activities in which the results and the simulation tool of ICEWIN project can also be exploited. In this sense the most interesting activity is the future demand for icebreaking capacity being faced with a strategic issue 'How will trade pattern, international regulations, size of vessels etc. effect the demand for icebreaking capacity in the future'?

For example, new ore mines to be opened in northern Finland may increase the need of icebreaking assistance in the Gulf of Bothnia. Further challenges may be incurred by a great size / breadth of ore ships. Anyway, the advanced simulation tool is now available to solve these kinds of strategic issues.

List of websites: http://www.vtt.fi/sites/icewin/