Page 16 - Respond 2018 Magazine
P. 16


       Gas tanker crosses

       thawing Arctic without

       icebreaker for first time

       By Megan Darby

       Sovcomflot vessel cut through thinning sea ice on the northern sea route to carry its cargo
       of fuel from Norway to South Korea in record time

       A commercial ship has crossed the Arctic’s northern sea   by global warming. State company Rosatomflot reported
       route without an icebreaker escort, in the first such voyage   a doubling in demand for its nuclear icebreaker escorts
       logged by Russian administrators.                    between 2015 and 2016.

       After embarking on her maiden voyage from Moscow on 31   Spears said: “There has always been a window in the
       July, the Christophe de Margerie completed the northern sea   summer period where we have been able to go through
       route in record time: six and a half days. She carried a cargo   there with an icebreaker escort. Now, that window is
       of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Norway to South Korea   getting a little bit longer. That obviously reflects different
       in 19 days, about 30% quicker than a typical passage by the   climatic conditions.”
       Suez canal.
                                                            Designed to plough through sea ice up to 2.1 metres thick,
       “It was a significant thing to order this vessel, it was a   the Christophe de Margerie can operate independently and
       significant first, it had not been done by anybody before,”   not only in the summer months, giving her an edge over
       Sovcomflot spokesperson Bill Spears told Climate Home.  competitors. The Cypriot-flagged vessel is named for the
                                                            former chairman of French oil major Total, who died in a
       Maritime traffic along Russia’s northern coastline is   plane crash at a Moscow airport in 2014.
       increasing in tandem with industrial developments, enabled

       The Christophe de Margerie is capable of sailing through ice up to 2.1 metres thick (Pic: Sovcomflot)
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