“Christophe de Margerie”, the icebreaking LNG carrier owned and operated by Sovcomflot, has crossed the Northern Sea Route in a new record time for a merchant ship without icebreaker support during July.
According to Sovcomflot, the vessel covered the distance of 2,360 nautical miles eastward, from the port of Sabetta (Yamal Peninsula) to Cape Dezhnev (the Bering Strait), in just 7 days and 17 hours.
Throughout the Northern Sea Route passage, the vessel navigated independently without any icebreaker support. Her average speed during the Northern Sea Route crossing was an impressive 12.8 knots.
The tanker set this new record while delivering a cargo of liquefied natural gas from the Yamal LNG plant at Sabetta to the port of Tangshan, China.
On 31 July, the vessel successfully berthed at her destination port. In total, it took her 18.5 days to travel from Sabetta to China.
Igor Tonkovidov, Executive Vice President and COO/CTO of SCF Group, said:
“This remarkable, safe passage across the NSR has required the crew’s utmost attention and concentration. Ice conditions along the route were severe, especially in the East Siberian Sea, and the vessel experienced navigation in extended periods of limited visibility. The navigational and hydrographic situation within Arctic regions remains as challenging as ever”, Igor Tonkovidov, Executive Vice President and COO/CTO of SCF Group, said.
“The crew of “Christophe de Margerie” was able to maintain a rapid yet safe speed for the tanker through effective organisation of bridge watch-keeping, highly skilled navigation, slowing the ship when approaching challenging ice fields and passing them at a safe speed, and moving reasonably quicker in areas of reduced ice cover.”
The vessel can sail unassisted along the NSR westward from Yamal all year-round, and eastward for six months of the year (from July to December). Previously, the summer navigation window in the eastern area of the Northern Sea Route was limited to only four months with icebreaker support.
‘The rapid and safe passage along the Northern Sea Route eastward from Yamal once again confirmed the economic efficiency of this route. This completed voyage also represents the beginning of regular shipments of LNG along the NSR from Russia’s Arctic gas fields to the countries of Asia Pacific’, SCF said in a statement.
Earlier this summer, two other LNG tankers, “Vladimir Rusanov” and “Eduard Toll” completed the Northern Sea Route passage in the Eastern direction.