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Icebreaker cooperation on the motorway of the Baltic Sea

Final Report Summary - ICOMOB (Icebreaker Cooperation on the Motorway of the Baltic Sea)

In the project a strategic simulation tool was developed for describing the need for icebreaking assistance. By means of the tool the comparison data of indicators would be obtained. The indicators described the need for assistance and the level of service in different circumstances.

By means of the tool, sea transports to/from ports of Finland, Sweden, Estonia and Russia in the conditions of different ice winters, restrictions and traffic volumes were simulated. The ice winters were classified as light and hard.

Alternative reviews were carried out by varying the number of icebreakers. The simulation period covered the entire ice winter, from the beginning of November to the end of May.

Simulations included icebreaker operations as separately by the national icebreaking fleets or operating all icebreakers with international co-operation. From the simulations the average waiting time for the cargo vessels could be calculated. Maximum four hours average waiting time was considered as sufficient service level for merchant vessels.

Ships icebreaking capabilities have significant effect on the icebreaking need. For evaluating the scenario where merchant ships icebreaking capabilities are improved the traffic was restricted with two options in hard winter conditions.

Simulation results revealed that resources of icebreakers can be utilised more effective if icebreaking operations could be managed co-operatively. In Gulf of Finland in conditions of hard ice winter there is a possibility to achieve the same level of service by 1-2 icebreakers less than in a situation where every country Finland, Russia and Estonia separately manages icebreaking operations. This must be a very attractive signal towards closer co-operation in icebreaking issues in the Baltic Sea area.