September 22, 2013

The Northwest Passage is Open for Business

Nordic Bulk Carriers A/S have just announced in a press release that:

The international shipping industry is these days witness to a historic event, when a vessel for the first time ever is sailing from Vancouver in Canada to Finland through Arctic waters. One of the world’s few modern ice-class bulk carriers – MV NORDIC ORION – will carry a cargo of 73,500 tons of coal via the so called North West Passage through Arctic waters to Finland. A Danish pioneer in operating ice-classed bulk carriers Nordic Bulk Carriers A/S is behind the historic North West Journey

Despite all the recent erroneous publicity about "ice bound" yachts in the Northwest Passage and "60% more ice",  Christian Bonfils who is managing director of Nordic Bulk Carriers goes on to say that:

We are very excited about this historic voyage, which has been a dream and ambition for several years. We have deep respect towards these important Arctic waters and have planned this voyage in close coordination with Transport Canada and the Canadian Coast Guard to ensure a safe execution. Reducing time, fuel and CO2 emissions The North West Passage across the Arctic is shorter than the traditional route through the Panama Canal and thereby has the potential to generate important saving in both time, fuel and CO2 emissions. The North West Passage shortens the distance with 1.000 nautical miles. This results in a reduction in fuel consumption and transportation time – and it also means lower CO2 emissions. The fuel savings alone add up to approximately USD 80,000. In addition this new route allows full utilisation of the ships capacity and thereby carries 25% more cargo than through the Panama Canal.

The ship is somewhat more sturdy than most of the vessels that have traversed the southern route of the Northwest passage this summer. According to NBC once again, in  a related factsheet:

MV Nordic Orion is an ice-class 1A ship. This is the highest conventional ice-class, and it is one of the only ships that can sail the route due to ice filled waters.

Describing the Nordic Orion in detail, they go on to cover the following bullet points:

  • 75.603 Dead weight tons
  • Built in 2011 at Oshima Shipyard in Japan
  • Ice class 1A
  • 225 meter long
  • 18,420 brake horse power (normal non ice classed ships have 12,000 bhp)
  • Carries 73,500 tons of coal
  • Has a sister ship MV Nordic Odyssey, which also has performed several Arctic trips and was the first Panamax bulk carrier on the Northern Sea Route

Here's a video of one of Nordic Bulk Carriers' ice class 1A vessels in action on the Northern Sea Route:

When NBC say world wide, they mean World Wide! Here's a photo of the Nordic Orion on a visit to South West England earlier this year!

Nordic Orion inbound passing Portishead Point

With both the Northwest Passage and the Northern Sea Route now open for business and carrying commercial traffic, I wonder when the first weather induced "incident" will occur? There aren't many "ports in a storm" on either route!

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Comments on The Northwest Passage is Open for Business »

September 23, 2013

Jim @ 8:23 am

ExactEarth are currently providing live satellite AIS tracking of the Nordic Orion. That reveals that the vessel has now successfully made its way through the southern route of the Northwest Passage and is currently heading out of Lancaster Sound into Baffin Bay:

The Nordic Orion's next scheduled stop is Pori in Finland.

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