Maritime Administration to seek €2.2 million from state for icebreaking ({{commentsTotal}})

Icebreaker MSV Botnica
Icebreaker MSV Botnica Source: (Port of Tallinn)

The Estonian Maritime Administration is applying for an additional €2.2 million from the government reserve, as the €6.4 million allocated to the Maritime Administration for icebreaking for the past season was not enough.

The Estonian Maritime Administration spent €8.6 million on icebreaking this year. The state budget for 2018 earmarked €6.4 million for icebreaking operations, the administration said. Of this, €4.7 million consists of the charter fee and standby charge alone of the icebreaker MSV Botnica.

As the previously allocated €6.4 million is not enough to cover expenses incurred by icebreaking work done this year, the Estonian Maritime Administration has applied for an additional €2.2 million from the government reserve.

While some solitary ice floes remain in Pärnu Bay, the area surrounding the Port of Sillamäe in the Gulf of Finland is already free of ice, and as vessels did not require the help of icebreakers over the past weekend, the current icebreaking season in Estonia is drawing to a close.

The Botnica is still anchored at the Port of Sillamäe, ready to assist ships should it suddenly be necessary, or if the winds should change and bring ice into the area from elsewhere in the Gulf of Finland, but the Maritime Administration considers this unlikely. As this is the case, the Botnica is scheduled to depart Sillamäe on Tuesday evening and dock at the Port of Paljassaare the following morning.

Vessels no longer require assistance in Pärnu Bay either. The EVA-316, the Estonian Maritime Administration's multipurpose vessel, has assisted ships on 121 occasions since the beginning of the icebreaking season this year. While the EVA-316 was undergoing repairs, tugboats of the Estonian sea transport and towage services provider Alfons Hakans assisted other vessels on 103 occasions. Icebreaking services were provided on a total of 224 occasions in Pärnu Bay, going through a combined 303,000 liters of fuel.

Since Feb. 22, the Botnica, which the Estonian Maritime Administration leases from Port of Tallinn subsidiary TS Shipping, has worked in the Gulf of Finland off the Ports of Sillamäe and Kunda, assisting vessels on 84 occasions and spending approximately 552,000 liters of fuel in the process. The back-up icebreaker Tarmo provided icebreaking services on three days at the beginning of March, assisting vessels on four occasions and spending 47,000 liters of fuel in the process. The total amount of fuel spent on icebreaking in the Gulf of Finland was approximately 599,000 liters.

Thus, the total amount of fuel spent on icebreaking services during wintertime navigation is 902,000 liters. The next icebreaking season is to be expected next winter.

Under a contract for 2012-2022 awarded following a public procurement tender, the government pays €4.7 million as charter fee and a standby charge for four winter months for the services of the TS Shipping-owned Botnica annually.

Editor: Aili Vahtla

Source: BNS

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