Ice Channel in the Context of Maritime Rules
Sammanfattning: Winter transportation is equally important as the summer transportation, or even more meaningful for countries, which are affected by the winter conditions. In this perspective, the focus of this paper is in the Baltic Sea, which is a sea, where some of its areas are frozen every year.
During winter times, vessels may face heavy ice conditions and extreme weathers when navigating through ice fields. There are special ice class regulations to limit what kind of vessels shall enter in the Baltic Sea during winter to operate by using their full capacity in ice conditions and maintain all the safety features. How these winter conditions changes in the prevailing situation, will be explained in a way that the reader should understand why there are these special needs for ice class regulations and needs for vessels entering the Baltic Sea. In addition, paper addresses’ what actions are needed from authorities’ side to keep transportation going in spite of prevailing weather conditions.
National and International rules sets clear rules to guide navigational issues, like passing and crossing. However, there are no single international rule to guide ice navigation in same manner how these rules guide open water situations, like the Convention on the International Regulation for Preventing Collisions at Sea does. There are some national rules trying to guide winter navigation, but those are only locally applicable and still leaves some holes for guidance issues, what vessels needs to maintain safe navigation in ice conditions.
Best way to show the scale of this mentioned problem is done by presenting different Finnish cases to show out all types of problems, that are caused by the unclear definition of the ice channel and the lack of sailing rules for vessels to obey in ice conditions. In addition, some thoughts from experts from field are presented to support the fact that there is need to solve this issue.
Going through all these aspects there is a conclusion made in the end, which presents a possible way to minimize the problem surrounding ice channel navigation and, discusses what should be done to prevent similar accidents occurring in the future.
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