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Ice breakers struggle to clear harbours

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Ice breakers struggle to clear harbours
Photo: DPA
17:07 CET+01:00
Ice breakers on Friday were working non-stop to clear northern Germany's frozen harbours following a return to frigid temperatures in recent days.

Ships arriving from the Baltic Sea along the coast of the state of Mecklenburg Western-Pomerania can only reach harbours with the help of the breakers after the formation of new ice overnight, spokesperson for the BSH federal shipping office Natalija Schmelzer said.

The weekend weather forecast holds more freezing temperatures and heavy winds which will likely lead to thicker ice along the coasts, she added.

The ice breakers “Arkona” and “Görmitz” have been on duty without rest since the New Year to help freighters reach Stralsund, Greifswald, Vierow and Wolgast and beyond – but experts predict that it will still be several weeks before ice up to 40 centimetres thick disappears completely.

An ice breaker recently helped a convoy of fishing cutters leave the Freest harbour to fish for cod and herring, but most other fishing boats have remained frozen at their docks for weeks.

The German Weather Service (DWD) predicted winter would return to Germany for an encore over the weekend, with negative temperatures and snow expected in many regions. Northern Germany was hit particularly hard by an unusually harsh winter this year, causing major transport problems for ships, trains and cars alike.

Click here for The Local's weather forecast.

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