“The icebreaker Sisu was already there ready to assist after first breaking the ice from around the vessel. With the guidance of the pilots and continued help from Sisu, the vessel got easily underway and continued on toward Kallbådagrund lighthouse. At the journey’s start, the shipmaster had received no instructions or route coordinates from the Russian icebreaking authorities, so we established them during the piloted journey. St. Petersburg Ice Breaking told us that Admiral Makarov would be coming to assist. Admiral Makarov gave instructions to continue to the traffic separation zone at the southern end of Kallbådagrund lighthouse to wait for the ice to be broken. We received permission to continue on our own as long as the ice conditions would allow.
Once the pilots left, Sisu’s assistance ended nearly immediately when the vessel reached ‘near open water’ conditions in the area. We continued to follow the route to the traffic separation zone at which point the ice began to hamper our progress, but we decided to continue our journey anyway as we had already been granted permission. As we made our way east, the ice conditions eased up and we travelled through new ice along the think ice edge in the southern area and out through the open waters toward the island of Gogland. The shipmaster presented me with a telex which requested that we wait at the Kallbådagrund traffic separation zone. St. Petersburg Traffic sent me a confirmation that the permission to continue our journey was still valid.
At the southern end of Gogland, we encountered another ice field, which we managed to transit in the wake of a large and seemingly effective vessel on its way to Vysotsk. This enabled us to reach as far as the intersection of the St. Petersburg and Vyborg routes. We managed to make our own way through the ever more difficult conditions of the lanes until we reached the intersection at Primorsk. At this point, our journey froze. Within two hours, Admiral Makarov showed up and assisted us in reaching the pilot station where we were to await pilot 2200. At 0800 in the morning two pilots arrived and we were able to continue to Primorsk via inner routes without further assistance.”
“The vessel was ready at 0700, but remained waiting for ice breaking assistance scheduled to arrive in the evening. Kapitan Sorokin, which handles the traffic around St. Petersburg, came to our assistance. The assistance continued uninterrupted through the changing ice conditions until the traffic separation zone at Porkkala. The assistance was terminated and we headed toward Hanko. Later, the ice increased. Our speed remained good since there was no threat of becoming ice-bound in such a broken and loose (albeit thick) ice field.”
“At 0900, we received information that we should continue our journey to longitude 26 E, where the icebreaker would meet us around midnight. We continued to travel on the information provided by the icebreakers very close to the coastline of Estonia. I got the assurance of the shipmaster that it was safe to wait in the ice since it was not even windy. We arrived at the designated location at 1600. We could have continued, but the instructions of the icebreaker were unconditional since we might block the route.
I was awakened at 2330. Admiral Makarov began assisting at 2350. We were the first in the convoy, and the shipmaster followed the advice provided by both myself and the icebreaker. The conditions were quite easy since there was no wind, and we arrived at the pilot station at 0730. The tug-boat/icebreaker Yuriu Lisyanskiy brought the pilot to the ship, and the pilot then guided us without the icebreaker to wait 5 cables to the west of the terminal. After a 4-hour wait, the pilot was brought to the ship once again at 1500 and we were docked at the quay at 1730.”
“Just before Porkkala, we received three Fennica “way points” from the VTS of the Gulf of Finland. These were placed on the map and we planned the end of our journey accordingly. At 0400 we were approximately 6.8 miles directly to the south of Helsinki lighthouse and we encountered slightly thicker and denser ice. Our journey stopped there. Our vessel was a 250-metre tanker whose ice strength was not confirmable, so although miles of open lanes trailed behind our stern, the ship could not simply gather speed and push through. I received information from the icebreaker that we would receive help later. ---”
“From 0900 – 1800 we sail through difficult ice conditions. Icebreaker Ermak had to cut us loose on 3 occasions. The most difficult places were at the start of the Primorsk fairway and to the eastern side of Gogland. The western side was easier due to easterly winds. A bad ice bank awaited us at the end of the route, and it took Ermak nearly 1 hour to free us. --- We headed through quite easy ice conditions approx. 5´ nearly straight to the south toward the Estonian coastline. The frozen brash barrier along the edge of the open water forced us to drop our speed to under 6 knots. We managed to work our way to the open water. The journey continued along the Estonian coastline, sometimes in open water, sometimes through weak ice, to the pilot boarding place at Hanko.”