LNG carriers embark on historic Arctic voyage

Early next week an historic moment in Arctic navigation will take place when two LNG carriers cross paths near the East Siberian Sea, neither of which are travelling with icebreakers.

On Tuesday this week the ice-class Christophe de Margerie departed the Sabetta LNG terminal Sabetta heading east thought Arctic waters to the Chinese port of Dalian. Two weeks ago the Nikolay Zubov LNG carrier left Dalian bound for Sabetta.

Data provided by MarineTraffic shows the two vessels ought to cross paths near the East Siberian Sea on Monday or Tuesday next week (see below).

The voyage is historic as it marks the first time two commercial vessels have conducted parallel voyages on the Northern Sea Route at this time of year. It marks another example of how Russia is ramping up its LNG exports from the far north to clients in Asia all year round.

Splash reported in May last year how the Sovcomflot-controlled Christophe de Margerie crossed the Northern Sea Route, setting a new record for the early time of year for the transit, something that is set to be smashed in the coming days.

Russia is opening the Northern Sea Route to ever more volumes of commercial traffic. Last year 32m tons of products were shipped on the route. The aim is to more than double that by 2024.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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