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Estonia Adopts Tech to Safeguard Maritime from Climate Change Amid China BRI Uncertainties

With a 3,700-kilometer coastline, Estonia, a 'Maritime State' on the northeastern shores of the Baltic Sea, is critically linked between Scandinavia, Russia, and Central Europe, serving as gateways for products moving between East and West and connecting major shipping routes. However, as extreme weather becomes more common, its location is increasingly subject to the impacts of climate change, such as rising sea levels and changes in marine ecosystems.

Tall Herman in Estonia

Understanding and taking a serious approach, the Estonian government formed a Ministry of Climate last year, emphasising the country's commitment to a sustainable future. This new ministry wants to streamline domestic processes that benefit the environment. It will prioritise balancing economic development and nature conservation to ensure Estonia's long-term viability. The Ministry has also initiated a number of projects aimed at increasing public knowledge and preparedness for climate concerns, as well as encouraging the use of environmentally friendly solutions.

Ms. Sandra Särav, Deputy Minister of Estonia at the Singapore Maritime Week
Ms. Sandra Särav, Deputy Minister for Economy and Innovation of Estonia

"We have launched a number of projects that will result in increased public awareness and preparedness, but also in the uptake of environmentally friendly solutions." According to Ms. Sandra Särav, Deputy Minister for Economy and Innovation of Estonia.

To better understand the marine environment, the ministry is employing the help of technology. In its initial phase, project 'SEAWOLF' aims to create a digital replica of the marine environment using a network of smart, floating platforms to gather a wealth of data, leading to a deeper understanding of the oceans. This newfound awareness will empower policymakers to enact effective measures for marine protection.

The ministry also promotes other climate initiatives like the FINEST Green Corridor project focuses on reducing emissions on one of Europe's busiest shipping routes - the link between Tallinn, Estonia, and Helsinki, Finland.  This corridor boasts a unique feature: integrating cities and their infrastructure into the project. This allows travelers to visualise their environmental impact, fostering a culture of eco-consciousness. The project implements various solutions, including OPS and auto-mooring systems for ferries, to achieve near-zero emissions.

"The Estonian Marine Greentech & Retrofit HUB tackles the crucial issue of ship decarbonisation. This project spearheads research and development efforts to create innovative solutions that will propel the maritime industry towards a greener future." Ms Sandra highlighted. "Estonia as a country is a member of multiple international organisations, in which we actively participate and pursue common goals" citing the ministry close partnership with Helsinki Commission and International Maritime Organisation.


Another uncertainty that Estonia's maritime could face is the disruption caused by China's BRI, Belt and Road Initiative. While Estonia is not directly involved in the BRI, its maritime interests may be affected indirectly as a result of the BRI's impact on regional trade routes and economic dynamics. However, the specific implications for Estonia would be determined by a number of circumstances, including its commercial links with other BRI participants and the wider geopolitical backdrop. "Certainly, there are effects, but not very direct ones for us. In Estonia I think we have not yet analysed them with sufficient depth, to make any fundamental conclusions." Ms Sandra said.


  • The Estonian government launched projects to increase public awareness and preparedness for climate concerns. These initiatives promote environmentally friendly solutions.

  • Project ‘SEAWOLF’ aims to create a digital replica of the marine environment using smart floating platforms, enhancing policymakers’ understanding and enabling effective marine protection measures.

  • Estonia actively participates in international organisations, collaborating with the Helsinki Commission and International Maritime Organisation.

  • Although Estonia is not directly involved in China's BRI, its maritime interests may be indirectly affected by regional trade route changes and economic dynamics.

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