Russian gas tanker passed the Northern Sea Route for the first time in May

Russian LNG Arctic icebreaker Christophe de Margerie. Photo: Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

JIANGSU, Jun 11, 2020, Pan Pacific Agency. On May 30, the Russian nuclear icebreaker Yamal completed the commissioning of the Christophe de Margerie gas tanker at the eastern edge of the Chukchi Sea with a batch of gas from the Yamal LNG project. On June 9, tanker successfully docked in the port of Jiangsu. Christophe de Margerie is the arctic icebreaker LNG carrier, it was launched by the Russian transport company Sovcomflot in 2017.

Sea freight starts at the port of Sabetta, located in the Gulf of Ob (Kara Sea). Up to this point, Yamalmax class vessels have been navigating the Northern Sea Route (NSR) exclusively from early July to early January. The rest of the time traffic on this route was closed.

The Christophe de Margerie tanker successfully crossed the eastern part of the Northern Sea Route and became the first large-capacity vessel to make such a transition in May, when ice conditions in the eastern sector of the Arctic are still not simple enough. Usually, navigation in this part of the NSR opens no earlier than July.

The duration of this transition was 21 days, the distance traveled – 6047 nautical miles with an average speed of 11.7 knots. Delivery of the same batch of LNG by the usual southern route via the Suez Canal on average takes at least 34 days. This suggests that the extension of the navigation period in the eastern sector of the NSR provides a real opportunity to reduce the delivery time by more than a third.

During voyage, the ship crew collected data on the ice situation in the eastern part of the NSR, which will help to plan the logistics of future Arctic projects and designing the next generations of Arctic vessels, including icebreakers and ice-class transport vessels.

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