665 - 11/09 – Winter Navigation - Azov Sea

Date: 20/11/2009
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The Association would like to inform its Members about the conditions expected in the Azov Sea over the winter period. The sea generally freezes between November and March each year. The information below is intended to provide members with advice and guidance.

  • The sea water freezing point of the brackish water of Azov sea is about - 0,4 C. The ice thickness is about 0,5 - 0,7 m in an average winter. The biggest obstacles to winter navigation are ridges which are normally thicker than the level ice and difficult to penetrate. Channels with thick side ridges and thick brash ice in the middle are formed when the ice cover in the fairway is repeatedly broken and frozen. The side ridges make passing of other vessels very difficult.  Ridges also form when winds push ice together.
  • The beginning and the end of ice navigation at Ukrainian Azov ports is stated in the formal order issued by the Mariupol Harbour Master. The Ice Operations Headquarters is headed by the Mariupol Harbour Master.
  • Ice navigation is permitted for ice-classed vessels or, vessels with the confirmation from a Classification society that they are able to navigate in concrete ice conditions.

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