In the Big port of St. Petersburg, ice in the channels and fairways and at berths is now up to 25-35 cm thick. This has led to a significant increase in the time required for ice convoys to form and pass to or from the port.
According to the information letter signed by the Harbour Master of the Big port of St. Petersburg, the delays are due to several factors, including delays landing of pilots on board (pilot landing takes 40-45 minutes), delays expecting tugs for mooring operations, and, sometimes, insufficient number of tugs deployed in mooring operations.
Shipping and stevedoring companies as well as agents and pilots are requested to take measures to reduce vessel delays and provide sufficient tug support complying with navigation safety requirements and good practices. To ensure efficient port operations, vessels that fail to join the convoy in time, will be left at berths or at the entrance buoy to wait for the next convoy.
In the port of Ust-Luga, icebreaking period started earlier than planned initially, w.e.f. January 25 instead of January 31, due to the worsening ice conditions.
In the port of Vyssotsk, the following additional restrictions are introduced w.e.f. February 8, 2019:
- Barges pulled by tugs and vessels with no ice class are not allowed to sail in the ice conditions.
- Ice1 ice classed vessels are allowed to navigate only escorted by icebreakers.
- Vessels with the Ice2 and higher ice class and above are allowed to navigate with or without icebreaking support.