The icebreaking season 2018–2019 will end on Saturday, 11 May, when the last icebreaker of the season, IB Polaris, returns to its home port of Katajanokka in Helsinki.
Compared with the previous season, the icebreaking season was different and had many unexpected events. IB Otso was the first vessel to depart for icebreaking duties on 25 December. Soon after that, IB Kontio headed for the Bay of Bothnia, with IB Polaris and IB Sisu following in January.
“Conditions in the Bay of Bothnia were very challenging and variable due to high winds and moving ice. The icebreakers have fought amongst hard ridged ice, brash ice barriers and the crushing of hard ice, with frequent high winds. At one stage, the ice was on the Swedish side of the bay as a result of easterly winds, but the ice masses have mainly been in the Finnish marine areas. For some time, there were five icebreakers in the Bay of Bothnia at the same time, and three stayed there until May. The ice winter in the Gulf of Finland was easy in comparison with the Bay of Bothnia. Two of Arctia’s icebreakers took turns in working in the eastern part of the Gulf of Finland. IB Voima suffered damage to the seal in the bow propeller when a rope got tangled in it, and therefore it was replaced by IB Urho. After the conditions in the Gulf of Finland eased off, IB Urho was replaced by IB Zeus of Alfons Håkans, and IB Urho moved on to the demanding area in the Gulf of Bothnia,” tells Tom Ekegren, Arctia’s Senior Vice President, Icebreaking.
The number of operating days of Arctia’s icebreakers during the season was 538. There were a total of 1,683 assistance tasks, 168 of which were towing operations.
Arctia wishes to thank the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency, the VTS Centres, the vessels, ports and pilots assisted by the icebreakers, Swedish icebreakers, and other cooperation partners for the past icebreaking season.