A new record for crossing the Northern Sea Route was set up in July by the icebreaking LNG carrier Christophe de Margerie, 128,806gt, owned and operated by the Russian company Sovcomflot (SCF Group).
The ship, without icebreaker support, covered the 2,360 miles eastwards from the port of Sabetta, on the Yamal Peninsula, to Cape Dezhnev in the Bering Strait in seven days and 17 hours at an average speed of 12.8 knots. The ship carried a cargo of LNG from the Yamal LNG plant at Sabetta, in Siberia, to the port of Tangshan in China, where she arrived on July 31.
The voyage marked the start of regular shipments of LNG along the Northern Sea Route from Russia’s Arctic gas fields to Asia-Pacific countries. Giving details of the record voyage, Igor Tonkovidov, executive vice president of the SCF Group, said: “Ice conditions along the route were severe, especially in the East Siberian Sea, and the ship experienced navigation in extended periods of limited visibility.
“The navigation and hydrographic situation within the Arctic region remains as challenging as ever. The crew was able to maintain a rapid yet safe speed through 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 Christophe de Margerie has a cargo capacity of 172,000cu m, and is the first of a series of 15 icebreaking LNG carriers ordered for the Yamal project to transport LNG all year round in the challenging ice conditions of the Kara Sea and the Gulf of Ob.