IMO notice: Traffic Separation Schemes and associated routing measures in 'NORRA KVARKEN' ( Gulf of Bothnia) Temporary Suspension

Published: 06/02/2018

At the request of the Government of Sweden, the information  by the Swedish Transport Agency, is brought to the attention of Member States and international organizations.

After consultation with the Finnish Transport Agency, the Swedish Transport Agency has decided to temporarily suspend the traffic separation schemes (TSS) as well as the two-way routes "In Norra Kvarken", which is described in detail in COLREG.2/Circ.63, paragraph 1.1and annex 1, dated 8 May 2012.
The suspension came into force at 0000 UTC on 25 January 2018. The reason for the suspension is the prevailing ice conditions in the area. These conditions are expected to remain the same until mid-April 2018. The suspension will be revoked as soon as the ice conditions allow. This temporary suspension is deemed to be cancelled on 15 April 2018, unless further notice is given by a notice to mariners. The area is mostly covered with solid and drifting ice of variable thickness, and ice channels arise in varying locations. Ship traffic is guided or assisted by Swedish or Finnish icebreakers: the ships receive information about the present ice situation and proposed routes, or sail in convoys headed by the icebreakers.
If the TSSs are not suspended, the ships will have to navigate in accordance with COLREGrule 10. Doing so and under the prevailing ice conditions, this would involve an unacceptable risk.

Sweden would appreciate if this information could be brought to the attention of other Member States and organizations so that they can inform shipowners, ship operators, shipping companies, masters and all others concerned.

The Maritime and Civil Aviation Department
Swedish Transport Agency
SE-601 73 Norrköping