Swedish state icebreakers

A fresh update shows that the cold weather has taken a firm hold on large parts of Sweden’s coast and the need for assistance from the Swedish Maritime Administration’s icebreakers is more extensive as this year’s ice winter is the toughest in many years.

Fredrik Backman, shipping director at the Swedish Maritime Administration, says that “ Our task is to ensure that the ports can stay open. It is a task that we take very seriously, and we use the resources that we have available. In the event of a more difficult ice situation, which we may get this winter, it may, however, mean longer waiting times for breaking chutes and assistance.”

The Swedish Maritime Administration informs therefore that it has signed an agreement with a private operator to get additional icebreakers into operation in order to avoid longer waiting times for merchant shipping.

To cope with the situation all the state-owned icebreakers are out working.

In order to provide additional icebreaking resources if needed an agreement was signed with Viking Supply Ships, as it is mentioned by the Swedish Maritime Administration.

Fredrik Backman, comments that, “We see right now that we will probably have to break ice as far down as Kalmar on the east coast, and to Gothenburg and further north on the west coast. It requires more of us than normal and we therefore need to spread out our resources more than in recent winters.

Icebreaking is not tax-financed but is jointly paid for by shipping through fairway fees which means that resources are limited, so a more severe ice winter like this one has the potential to be extra stressful for the Swedish Maritime Administration’s finances. Just like winter road maintenance on land, winter shipping is of the utmost importance for Sweden, as nine out of ten goods to and from Sweden go by sea.”