A Russian Gas Carrier Will Deliver Commercial Cargo to China via the Northeast Passage in Record Time

According to the MarineTraffic tracking website, yesterday at 19:55 the ice-class gas carrier Christophe de Margerie, belonging to “Sovkomflot”, set sail from the port of Sabetta with a cargo of LNG. The route to the “Tangshan” (China) port will pass along the Northeast Passage.

The uniqueness of the event is that it is the first commercial voyage along the shortest path taking place at this time in the Arctic, where navigation usually does not start until July and ends in November. As for April-May, this has always been the most difficult period for navigation, when the thickness of ice in the Arctic reaches a maximum.

The gas carrying is accompanied by the nuclear ice breaker “Yamal”, owned by unitary enterprise “Atomflot”, which will help improve coordination and the ability of vessels in the most severe conditions of the Far North, collect information about speed at various sites, work on tactics of piloting and coordination with coastal services, and most importantly: confirm the forecast of the possibility of year-round shipping along the Northeast Passage.

Currently, the speed of the gas carrier is about 12 knots, and the distance travelled as of 22:00 on May 19th is 200 nautical miles. The declared date of arrival at the Chinese port is June 11th, which is 25 days. This is one third faster than the normal route around Eurasia through the Suez Canal and the Strait of Malacca.

Good luck to our guys!

Aleksandr Dubrovsky

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