Activity 08

Study on adequacy of icebreaking capacity and level of service in Baltic Sea during severe winters


The objective of this activity is to study the adequacy of icebreaking capacity and level of service in Baltic Sea specific for severe winters. Statistically, severe winters occur once or twice in a decade. The last winter classified as a severe winter was in 2010 – 2011 with maximum ice extent of 309 000 km2. Since then the winters have been classified as normal or mild. During a very severe winter even the Danish straights freeze. The simulation model of winter navigation traffic from the WINMOS (1) Action will now be utilized in the analysis and based on that also further developed and a scenario of very severe winter will be studied. The consequences and needed measures and procedures to minimize the harm of a severe winter are naturally of greater scale than for a normal winter and the extents of these measures could be expressed as long forgotten since 2010. To get required  input data a ship traffic analyses must be carried out in at least Estonia, Finland and Sweden.

Based on these findings, a contingency plan will be drawn up to ensure icebreaker capacity and other operational means to safeguard maritime transport in the whole Baltic Sea during a very severe winter when the most of the Baltic Sea freezes. The plan could be a tool for each national icebreaking authority and could also be a basis for developing further cooperation between the Baltic Sea countries.


Sub-Activity 8.1 – Further development of winter navigation model

The scope of this sub-activity was to further develop the winter navigation model, in order to include functions to model extremely severe winters.The simulation model was further developed and a scenario of a very severe winter was studied. The model can be used to study the adequacy of icebreaking capacity and level of service in the Baltic Sea especially during severe winters.

A modelling report of a severe winter can be found here.

Sub-Activity 8.2 – Contingency plan for Baltic Sea during extremely severe winters

The scope of this sub-activity is to draft a contingency plan for extremely severe winters covering the whole Baltic Sea. This will be done based on the traffic analysis and findings of the sub-activity 8.1. All Baltic Sea countries will be considered in the plan. The plan is still under work and will be sent for comment to all Baltic Sea countries before being finalised.