September 10, 2013
The Yong Sheng docks in Rotterdam as the Nordvik is holed on the Northern Sea Route
As econnexus.org reported back in March:
The Russians and Chinese [are] obviously extremely keen on the idea of saving many billions (and hence making many billions!) of dollars by shipping many billions of tonnes of stuff across the Arctic Ocean in the very near future.
As the Financial Times reported on August 11th:
A Chinese cargo ship is attempting the country’s first ever commercial transit of the Northeast Passage above Russia, as a changing climate opens a short-cut that promises to reduce shipping times between China and Europe.
The Yong Sheng, a 19,000-tonne vessel operated by state-owned Cosco Group, set sail on August 8 from Dalian, a port in northeastern China, bound for Rotterdam. According to an announcement on Cosco’s website, the journey via the Bering Strait could shave as much as 15 days off the traditional route through the Suez Canal and Mediterranean Sea.
According to MarineTraffic the Yong Sheng reached Rotterdam earlier this afternoon, having just sailed south through the North Sea:
Meanwhile the Barents Observer reports today that:
The 6403 tonne dead weight tanker "Nordvik” hit an ice floe and started taking in water while sailing the Northern Sea Route (NSR) last week. The tanker was fully loaded with diesel oil. As a result of the collision with the ice floe, the tanker got a hole in one of the ballast tanks and started taking in water. The hole has been plugged with a cement box and the water ingress has stopped. The vessel is now drifting in the Matisen Strait, where the accident happened, waiting for another tanker to come and take the cargo.
The tanker acted in violation of the permit given by the NSR administration by entering waters with medium ice conditions without being escorted by an icebreaker. The ship owner Khatanga Commercial Port is negotiating with nuclear icebreaker operator Atomflot to have the tanker escorted to port in Khatanga. There is still no information about any leakage of oil.
According to the BBC last month:
One of Russia's remotest regions is a haven for wildlife. The Taimyr Peninsula is the most northerly piece of land in the world that is still attached to a continent. Only a few Arctic islands and parts of Greenland are further north.
As shipping through the Russian Arctic increases, the biggest bottleneck is at the northern tip of the Taimyr at Cape Chelyuskin. Near the cape the sea ice lingers the longest into late summer and early autumn.
This weekend the Mail on Sunday told its readers that "an unbroken ice sheet… already stretches from the Canadian islands to Russia’s northern shores." It seems as though some people will do anything to earn a quick buck or two!
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