Oil tankers through North East Passage

The two Murmansk registered oil tankers Varzuga and Indiga are right now on their way through the partly ice-covered Northern Sea Route on their way to Chukotka in Russia’s Far East.

The Arctic shipping season 2010 is closely followed by the world’s shipping interests as global warming makes the sea ice retreat in record speed. By sailing the Northern Sea route, the ship-owners save both time and fuel-costs as the distance from Europe to Asia via the north is much shorter than traditionally routes through the Suez- Panama-, or around Africa to Asia.

The two oil tankers that left Murmansk this week are accompanied by an icebreaker, reports MBNews. The tankers hold the ice-classification 1A Super with double hull according to the web-portal of Murmansk Shipping Company.

The tankers are loaded with 27,000 tons of petroleum. They are scheduled to arrive in the port-town of Pevek on Chukotka in Russia’s Far East on July 27th.

Although Varzuga and Indiga are the first tankers to sail the North East Passage this summer, they are not the only. Russia’s biggest shipping company, Sovkomflot, intends to carry out a first major oil shipment from the Varandey terminal on the coast of the Pechora Sea through the North East Passage to Japan later this summer.

Sovcomflot will send one of its purpose-built 70.000 dwt ice-classed shuttle tankers on the route. If successful, the tanker will be the first ever oil tanker to sail the entire Northern Sea Route from Northwest Russia to Asia.

Original article here

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