Winter navigation risks and oil contingency plan (WINOIL)

Latest events

Final Seminar of the WINOIL project was held in St. Petersburg, Russia in 30th September 2014. After the seminar, the project group will have the closing meeting in 1st November, also in St. Petersburg.

Please find all presentations and some pictures of the final seminar here:

WINOIL final seminar

Past events

Oil-in-Ice recovery demonstration  exercise was arranged in Kotka in Spring time 2014. This event was linked to the Gulf of Finland Year 2014 ( ), and also included an Expert seminar on the oil-in-ice subject. You find more information from here or from Gulf of Finland year webb page.

The Oil-in-Ice Demonstration Exercise was kind of a small-scale rehearsal for the larger mechanical oil recovery demonstration pre-scheduled for the Spring 2015. The main aim of the Finnish Environment Institute was to demonstrate the main mechanical recovery options available for oil combating in ice and to arrange an international expert seminar highlighting the oil-in-ice subject.

Please, watch the attached video of the Helcom Oil Combating Exercise in Oulu in Winter conditions.

Helcom Oil Combating Exercise in Oulu March 1994 (You Tube video)


Fuel oil among ice after the Ms Runner 4 accident in 2006 (photo: J. Pirttijärvi)


Heavy fuel oil leakage to the ice covered Kallavesi lake in February 2006 caused a lot of manual work in difficult conditions: Oil went to the lake bottom, and special trawling nets were used to collect oil . Cold season (-30°C in the morning) caused some extra challenges for the recovery work. (photo: J. Pirttijärvi)


Gulf of Finland (GoF) waters has perhaps the most dense maritime traffic in Europe. Furthermore it is a major oil transport route for the EU's energy demand due to the existing and planned oil terminals in the area: more than 150 million tons of oil was transported especially from Russian oil terminals, and there are estimations that the oil transport rate will be close to 200 million tons annually in 2015. Every day there are close to 20 tankers eastbound empty and westbound fully laden sailing through the GoF waters. The large numbers of tankers and other dense shipping in the area point out the need for good understanding on the risks and possible risk control measures to develop preparedness against the environmental pollution and human losses. On the other hand the dense traffic poses the effective pollution response activities, where the cross-border cooperation between national authorities is having the uttermost importance.

In addition GoF waters are every year covered by ice, where changing ice conditions, traffic restrictions and ice breaker based assistance will totally have another traffic risk scenarios to be handled. If a collision or grounding in ice conditions will result an oil outflow, the effective oil combating measures are far from those used in open water conditions, thus the prevention measures to avoid accidents are more than important.


The overall objective is to increase understanding of oil pollution prevention measures, improve the joint emergency cross-border procedures in oil accident, and to mitigate the risks related to ship navigation in ice conditions prevailing in the Gulf of Finland.

This project focuses on two main issues: 1) to update and develop the pollution combatting contingency plan between Russia and Finland related to GoF waters, and 2) to carry out risk assessment of winter navigation with the understanding of proper risk control options. The last two winters in the Baltic have also pointed out the urgency for this project via the continuous news on dozens of ships being stuck in the ice with additional down-time costs adding up to more than hundreds of millions of euros. In the spring 2011 alone there were weeks when more than 60 ships were stuck in the ice waiting the ice breaker assistance to Russian ports.


Oil recovery bucket mounted onboard oil recovery vessel Halli was cleaning oily ice during Runner 4 accident (photo: J. Pirttijärvi)

Related publications

International Conference ”The Issues of Emergency Management in the Arctic ”. Naryan-Mar, Russia. August 20-22, 2013:

Oil Combatting in the Gulf of Finland (You Tube video)

WINOIL Project presentation in Tallinn 2013, Jorma Rytkönen (pdf, 2,3 MB)

More information:

Jorma Rytkönen, Finnish Environment Institute SYKE,

Project website:

Published 2013-06-03 at 10:48, updated 2015-06-17 at 10:48