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FP6

ICOMOB — Result In Brief

Project ID: 516427
Funded under: FP6-SUSTDEV
Country: Finland

Cooperative approach improves icebreaking operations

A European project focused on Baltic Sea winter navigation has improved conditions for merchant vessels. Research highlighted the benefits of united action for ships contending with difficult ice conditions.
Cooperative approach improves icebreaking operations
In such weather in the Baltic Sea, traffic restrictions often have to be imposed due to insufficient icebreaker resources. Each coastal state - Estonia, Finland, Latvia and Russia - manages icebreaker assistance separately for merchant vessels navigating to and from their ports.

The EU-funded project 'Icebreaker cooperation on the motorway of the Baltic Sea' (Icomob) built on a previously developed strategic simulation tool for application to the entire Gulf of Finland. The vision was to use the modified tool for obtaining comparison data of indicators that describe the need for assistance, accident risk, level of service and emissions in different ice winters.

In this way, sea transports to and from the coastal ports could be simulated in different conditions of ice winters, restrictions and traffic volumes. Simulations focused on icebreaker operations by separate national icebreaking fleets as well as the operation of all icebreakers with international cooperation. The simulations made it possible to calculate average waiting time for vessels with a maximum of four hours being considered as a sufficient level of service for merchant vessels.

Study results indicated that icebreaker resources can be more effectively utilised if operations are managed cooperatively. For example, the same level of service can be achieved using one to two icebreakers less than those used when each country manages icebreaking operations separately.

Icomob has advanced the benefits of cooperation in icebreaking issues in the Baltic Sea area for greater efficiency.

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