Information published on 19 April 2016 in the UIC electronic newsletter "UIC eNews" Nr 494.

FTA, Finland: Winter navigation project WINMOS entailed acquisition of the new Finnish icebreaker

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Initiated in 2012, the WINMOS winter navigation project will culminate in the final seminar held today (7 April 2016). The new financial model and icebreaker concepts developed in the project will guarantee cost-effective winter navigation and timely renewal of the icebreaker fleet. The project also entailed the construction of a new icebreaker, Polaris.

Year-round maritime transport plays a key role in EU trade. The main objective of the WINMOS project was to ensure effective winter navigation in the EU’s northernmost waters, as well as to develop the winter navigation system as a whole in the Baltic Sea area. The project comprised seven activities. The most important activity from an economic point of view was the building of the new Finnish icebreaker, Polaris. The Finnish Transport Agency played an active role in almost all of the activities.

Part of the WINMOS project was to find means to reduce both fuel consumption and emissions from icebreakers. The next-generation icebreaker Polaris is the first icebreaker powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG). The use of LNG significantly reduces both carbon emissions and fuel costs.

Closer icebreaker cooperation between nations
An important part of the WINMOS project was to develop operative modelling and financial modelling in winter navigation. The actions to enhance winter navigation will be put into effect in international icebreaker cooperation.

At the end of last year, Finland, Sweden and Estonia signed an MOU by which they undertake to examine possible ways of putting such cooperation into action. The three countries have also submitted a new application for EU funding for the next step of the WINMOS project (WINMOS 2). The decision on EU funding will be taken next summer.

In addition to the icebreaker acquisition, the WINMOS project also examined future needs for icebreaking capacity, next-generation icebreakers, and lifecycle extensions of old icebreakers. The project also included development of winter navigation simulation training and training systems for seafarers.

WINMOS is a Swedish/Finnish/Estonian project co-financed by the European Commission. The total project budget is 139 million euro, of which 29.6 million euro is funded from the TEN-T Motorways of the Sea (MoS) budget.