An LNG tanker has secured a major milestone for Arctic shipping after becoming the first vessel to independently pass through the northern sea route at one of the coldest times of the year.
The vessel ‘Eduard Toll’, which belongs to marine energy transportation, storage and production company Teekay, cut through ice up to 1.8 metres thick without the support of an ice breaker.
Its two-month journey started in December and ended in January, with the vessel journeying from South Korea to northern Russia.
Bermuda-based firm Teekay is investing in six ships to serve the Yamal LNG project in northern Russia.
Another vessel owned by Sovcomflot, a Russian company specializing in petroleum and LNG shipping, made the same passage last August.
Read 'Shipping on the Northern Sea Route', a technical paper on the NSR, which explains more about the term used by Russia to describe the sea area between Novaya Zemlya island in the west to the Bering Strait in the east and out to 200 nautical miles from shore
The achievement, captured in a timelapse video (above), highlights how Russia’s northern coastline is opening up because of climate change accelerating the rate at which ice melts.
This is making maritime trade through the Arctic region increasingly viable, and has led to China to call on countries around the Arctic to improve international trade by developing a “Polar Silk Road” out of the shipping routes that are opening up.