Kontio deployed to bay of bothnia as first icebreaker of the season

Fri 25 Dec 2020 08:00:00 PM EET

Icebreaker Kontio set off on Christmas Day 25.12. from Katajanokka in Helsinki. Kontio is the first icebreaker of the season. Kontio will sail via Kokkola towards the Gulf of Bothnia, where ice has begun to form at the head end and along shipping lanes. The weather has so far been warmer than average for the season, but forecasts predict colder temperatures towards the end of the week.

The last icebreaking season was exceptional in comparison to previous years due to a mild winter. Although the ice did not pose too much of a challenge, unsettled weather conditions and winds created areas of slush, which caused difficulties for commercial vessels in the Bay of Bothnia. The Gulf of Finland was practically ice-free last year.

On its journey to the Bay of Bothnia, Kontio and her crew of 20 will call at Kokkola, where icebreaker will refuel with 720,000 litres of low-sulphur diesel. In the last few years, the temperature did not fall below zero until the start of the new year. “In the spring, we will have more detailed information about the winter’s conditions”, says Veli Luukkala, captain of the Kontio icebreaker. 

Arctia’s icebreakers operate along Finland’s coastal areas ensuring safe winter passage, which is vital for Finnish commerce, as around 90% of exports and approximately 80% of imports to Finland arrive by sea. The icebreakers operate around the clock, seven days a week. The ship’s crew changes every 10 days, when the vessel is refuelled, and water and food are restocked.