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An icebreaker circling around a cargo ship to try to break it free from the ice
winter

Ice Still Causing Trouble in the Baltic

Updated 13:30

Early on Friday morning, the ferry Amorella with 943 passengers arrived to Stockholm harbour after spending most of the night stuck in ice in the Baltic Sea. By mid day Friday there were still some 20 ships stuck in the ice, and the Swedish Maritime Administration expects it will take at least a couple of days before all of them are freed.

At one point during Thursday night there were over 50 ships stuck in the ice.

For the last days seven icebreakers have been working round the clock to keep the ships in the Baltic Sea moving.

The problems have been caused by strong winds that have pushed the ice towards the Swedish east coast, and packing it sometimes several metres thick. According to the Swedish Maritime Administration, this is the worst Baltic freeze for 14 years.

On Friday, Johny Lindvall, controller at the ice breaker unit of the Maritime Administration told Swedish Radio News that the captains of the ferries that got stuck by Kapellskär just north of Stockholm had ignored warnings from the Maritime Administration. But representatives of Viking Line claimed the warning had arrived too late.

Earlier Radio Sweden' Dave Russel spoke to Johny Lindvall, who said the ice is a real problem.

"About 85 percent of the trade to and from Sweden comes via the sea. There's a lot of industry in the north affected, particularly the paper industry, " he said.

"The ice wouldn't usually be a problem for the merchant ships, the problem now is that it's very windy, about 20 metres per second and that means that the ice is moving rapidly, there are lots of ridges with ice that's making it problematic for the ships, so they need help from the ice breakers to get back to the different ports," he added.

The winds are set to ease during Friday but the ice will stay for one to two months.

Our journalism is based on credibility and impartiality. Swedish Radio is independent and not affiliated to any political, religious, financial, public or private interests.
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