Arctia’s converted polar icebreaker Otso departed the icebreaker base in Helsinki as the Finnish icebreaking season’s first icebreaker on Christmas Day, 25 December 2018, at 18:00 local time. The vessel headed towards its initial operation area to keep open the fairways to Tornio, Kemi and Oulu. IB Otso will reach the area before noon on December 27th.
According to the latest ice report by the Finnish Meteorological Institute, ice in the Bay of Bothnia is drifting towards north-east. In the northern Bay of Bothnia’s inner archipelago there is 10-20 cm thick fast ice. Farther out there is 5-15 cm thick very close ice, level ice and new ice to Kemi 2, Oulu 1 and Raahe lighthouse.
“Icebreaker Otso along with its crew is eager to begin the new season. As we have learned, years are not alike, and ice conditions in the Bothnian Bay vary a lot. According to predictions, last season was supposed to be fairly mild, but it turned out to be far from it: on the last day of February all eight Arctia icebreakers were at sea assisting merchant vessels. Let’s see, what the coming season will bring”, comments Mr. Seppo Eva, Master of IB Otso, right before heading to sea.
In 2017 the Finnish icebreaking season’s first icebreaker departed the icebreaker base in Helsinki on December 18th, in 2016 on December 8th, and in 2015 on December 29th.
Source: Maritime Shipping News