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New trade link between Europe and Asia: historic Arctic convoy tests the Northern Sea Route

By The Siberian Times reporter
20 November 2012

Three Russian nuclear powered icebreakers are leading a huge gas tanker through the Arctic waters on the roof of Siberia.

Powerlful - 'Rossiya' icebreaker. Picture: Senat.org

The 288 metre long 'Ob River' ship - loaded with 135,000 cubic m of liquefied gas - is currently in the East Siberian Sea, en route from Hammerfest in Norway to the Japanese port of Tobata. Escorting the tanker nuclear-powered icebreakers 50 Let Pobedy (Fifty Years of Victory), Vaigach and Rossiya. 

Russian energy giant Gazprom is behind the project which is described as opening 'a new page in history'.

The aim is to test the feasibility of using the Northern Sea Route, traditionally open for four months in summer, at this time of year.

Asia is the world's top importer of LNG, and the Northern Sea Route offers traders a chance to  slash nearly three weeks off voyage times from Norway to Japan.

Currently, shipping goes via the Mediterranean and the Suez Canal, then into the pirate-plagued Gulf of Aden. 

'Aboard the tanker is also a group of specialists who study conditions for shipping during the intensive ice formation period in the Arctic seas,' said Itar-Tass. 

'In the group is a Russia expert who has Arctic navigation experience - a captain of the ice tanker fleet of the Russian shipping company Sovkomflot. 

'The specialists provide practical help for the Ob River captain on the Northern Sea Route and work out proposals to improve the ice shipping tactics for large ships in Arctic seas, including operation together with nuclear-powered icebreakers'. 

Comments (1)

a bit of a new era in goods delivery logistics if they make it ok
Daria, Russia
20/11/2012 15:54
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