Aerial view of the first commercial LNG tanker to cross the Arctic without an icebreaker. The 300-metre-long Sovcomflot ship, the 'Christophe de Margerie', was carrying gas from Norway to South Korea. Photo: Sovcomflot

By Matt McGrath
24 August 2017

(BBC News) – A commercial LNG tanker has sailed across the colder, northern route from Europe to Asia without the protection of an ice-breaker for the first time.

The specially-built ship completed the crossing in just six-and-a-half days setting a new record, according to the tanker's Russian owners.

The 300-metre-long Sovcomflot ship, the Christophe de Margerie, was carrying gas from Norway to South Korea.

Rising Arctic temperatures are boosting commercial shipping across this route.

The Christophe de Margerie is the world's first and, at present, only ice-breaking LNG carrier.

The ship, which features a lightweight steel reinforced hull, is the largest commercial ship to receive Arc7 certification, which means it is capable of travelling through ice up to 2.1m thick.

On its maiden voyage earlier this year, the Christophe de Margerie docked in the Russian port of Sabetta. Russian President Vladimir Putin congratulated the crew and energy company officials gathered on the ship's bridge, saying: "This is a big event in the opening up of the Arctic." [more]

First tanker crosses northern sea route without ice breaker

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