An icebreaker is a special-purpose ship or boat designed to move and navigate through ice-covered waters. For a ship to be considered an icebreaker, it requires three traits most normal ships lack: a strengthened hull, an ice-clearing shape, and the power to push through ice-covered waters. Finland depends heavily on her icebreakers to keep the sea lines of communications open. It is well known that seas around the Finnish coast are frozen even in normal winters at that latitude. No wonder they are so good at winter sports.
On 7 September 2005 The Icebreakers stamp booklet featuring Finnish icebreakers Urho, Otso, Fennica and Botnica was issued. The ships represent the last three generations of Finnish icebreakers. Each stamp shows the name and building year of the icebreaker, and also the name and building year of the sister ship. The four stamps of the booklet illustrate the 24-hour operation of the Icebreakers - the top stamp on the left depicts morning, the one below it depicts daytime ops, the picture on the top right indicates evening and the one below it nighttime ops. The oldest of the vessels in the stamp booklet, 30 years this year, is the icebreaker Urho. Otso was built in 1986. The ship is more modern in terms of technology and in particular more cost effective than Urho. Fennica, built in 1993, is the first multipurpose icebreaker in Finland. In the winter the multipurpose icebreakers sail in domestic icebreaking duties. In the summer they have offshore duties in the service of international oil and gas industry. The newest of the ships depicted on the stamps is Botnica. It was built in 1998 with advanced multipurpose icebreaker technology.
Graphic designers Ari Lakaniemi and Susanna Rumpu designed the Icebreakers stamp booklet. The stamps are based on photographs by Matti Lehto (scale models), jarmo Vehkakoski and jouni Klinga (background pictures). The price of the Icebreakers booklet is 2.60 euro. The stamp booklet contains 1st class non-denominated gummed stamps. My dear friend Merja sent me this lovely set of four maxi cards with the stamps on them.