Kent Björnvik, commander of the Ymer

Half of Sweden's Seas Frozen

Sweden’s ice-breakers have their work cut out for them this season with record levels of ice coverage making half of the country’s seas impassable without channels first being cut.

While northern areas are accustomed to being iced-in for much of the winter, fisheries and transport in the southern Baltic Sea are being affected much further south for the first time in 14 years.

The sea is now frozen north of a line between Stockholm on the western side of the Baltic and the Estonian capital, Tallinn in the east.  

Kent Björnvik, captain of the Ymer, one of Sweden’s six ice-breakers based in Luleå in northern Sweden, told Swedish Radio News said the ice is not necessarily thick, which prevents traditional winter roads from being opened on the seas, including the Luleå archipelago.

“The snow is insulating the ice from the cold and preventing it from thickening. It’s probably not more than 10 or 15 cm thick up here,” he said.

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