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Baltic Sea Portal content into new locations 1.1.2015 >,,,,


New oil and chemical spill response vessel was given the name Louhi


Hannele Pokka, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of the Environment, christened a new multipurpose vessel today at the dock of Uudenkaupungin Työvene Oy in Uusikaupunki. The new vessel, which will be used for combating oil and chemical spills, was named Louhi. The vessel’s homeport will be Upinniemi, in Kirkkonummi, and it will improve readiness to respond to marine pollution in the Gulf of Finland.

Louhi represents state-of-the-art technology in responding to marine oil and chemical spills. It is able to collect oil from the sea in open waters in higher waves than allowed by Finland’s existing response vessels and also in ice conditions with the aid of its special equipment. Louhi is designed to also combat chemical spills. It can collect harmful substances and operate in a chemical cloud without exposing the crew to any risk. The vessel can also be used for emergency towing of vessels, fire-fighting, and other rescue operations.

Louhi was commissioned by the Finnish Environment Institute SYKE, which prepared the specifications for the 48-million-euro vessel. This multipurpose vessel is to be owned and manned by the Finnish Navy. It will be used for the laying of undersea cables, diving operations, and various maintenance measures, for example. The vessel is also capable of mine-laying and has excellent capabilities of operating in ice conditions and performing towing operations. It is also furnished with equipment that measures wind and wave conditions at sea.

Technical capacity

Louhi is approximately 71 metres long. It has the capacity for storing some 1,200 cubic metres of recovered oil and for some 200 cubic metres of chemicals. Its sweeping width is approximately 42 metres.

The vessel is equipped with a towing winch for emergency towing and with high-standard (FI-FI 1) fire-fighting equipment for dealing with fires on vessels. It has 60 tonnes of bollard pull. Louhi is able to leave an explosive or toxic gas cloud safely and provides protection against shock waves created by external chemical explosions.

Finland has long been committed to developing its preparedness for oil and chemical spill response. The framework for the development of environmental emergency response‑preparedness was set out in the government report Challenges of the Baltic Sea and Baltic Sea Policy in 2009 and in the earlier general report on the development of oil spill response-preparedness 2009–2018. The improvement of response-preparedness is estimated to require a total investment of some 200 million euros by the state and of some 100 million euros by the rescue authorities. Investments implemented by the state and state investments on which decision has already been made now exceed 100 million euros.

The 2015 target is for Finland to be able, in collaboration with our neighbouring countries, to respond to a major oil spill of 30,000 tonnes in the Gulf of Finland, of 20,000 tonnes in the Archipelago Sea, and of 5,000 tonnes in the Gulf of Bothnia in open water conditions within three days of the accident. In ice conditions, the target is to achieve the same result within 10 days of the accident.

‘Although our readiness to combat oil and chemical accidents is good, it is not yet sufficient. With the Louhi vessel christened today and its top-class response capabilities, we have taken a significant step toward reaching the target set for our response‑preparedness,’ says Permanent Secretary Hannele Pokka. 

Six more response vessels needed

In order to meet the target, Finland, Estonia, and Russia would still need, in total, approximately six more response vessels of Louhi’s type, each with a storage capacity of over 1,000 cubic metres, in the Gulf of Finland.

Thanks to the policy of utilising multipurpose vessels, the Finnish response fleet has been acquired, and is maintained, cost-effectively. The national marine operators – the Navy, the Finnish Border Guard, and the state-owned waterway maintenance company – participate in oil and chemical spill response in addition to their other duties. The main responsibility for response measures rests with the Finnish Environment Institute and the regional rescue authorities.

Photo of the new multi-purpose vessel for the use of the media (copyright Ilkka Lastumäki)

Further information:

Mr Kalervo Jolma, Senior Engineer
Finnish Environment Institute SYKE
tel. +358 400 444 686
e-mail address format

Mr Jukka Pajala, Senior Officer
Finnish Environment Institute SYKE
tel. +0400 920 922
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Mr Magnus Nyström, Senior Expert
The Ministry of Environment
tel. +358 40 543 9743
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Ms Aira Saloniemi, Chief Editor for Web Services
Finnish Environment Institute SYKE
tel. +358 400 1488 75
e-mail address format




Ministry of the Environment Finnish Environment Institute Finnish Meteorological Institute

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