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SCF Expands Transit Window through the Russian Arctic

Source: www.gulfoilandgas.com 1/18/2021, Location: Asia

SCF’s LNG carrier Christophe de Margerie, reached Cape Dezhnev in Russia’s Far East, completing her eastbound voyage carrying a cargo of LNG along the Northern Sea Route (“NSR”), for Yamal LNG, from the Port of Sabetta in the Russian Arctic to the Asia Pacific market.

For the first time ever, Russian LNG has been transported across this route in January.

The successful NSR passage proves that during the autumn-winter navigation season, commercial cargo shipping across the Eastern part of the Russian Arctic becomes possible for an additional 1-2 months. This voyage is yet another step towards the year-round, safe navigation along the full length of the NSR. This will also help realise Russia’s plans to grow NSR cargo traffic and further unlock the route’s transit potential.

The LNG carrier’s voyage, from exiting the Gulf of Ob’s seaway channel to Cape Dezhnev, lasted 10 days 21 hours, during which time the vessel covered 2,474 nautical miles.

Importantly, Christophe de Margerie navigated the entire length of the NSR independently without icebreaker assistance. She maintained a safe speed under the prevailing ice conditions and limited visibility. With her double action hull design, the vessel sailed stern-first for about 66 per cent of the steaming time, to overcome the ice hummocks. The average voyage speed was 9.5 knots.

Igor Tonkovidov, President and CEO of PAO Sovcomflot, said:

“Christophe de Margerie’s voyage, in January, continues the longstanding efforts of SCF and NOVATEK to develop large-capacity cargo shipping in the Arctic, and to further expand the window of transportation opportunities in the challenging ice and navigational conditions of the Arctic Sea Basin. Year-round navigation in the Eastern part of the Russian Arctic has been a centuries-old dream of Russia’s pioneering seafarers, and now we are one step closer to it. This will result in more efficient use of the Northern Sea Route for the Russian economy, whilst contributing to the success of large-scale industrial projects at the Ob River estuary and across the entire Russian Arctic. Faster voyages along the Northern Sea Route, when compared with the conventional southern route through the Suez Canal, are not just more cost-effective but they also significantly reduce the carbon footprint of the cargo transportation.”

Sergey Gen, Master of the vessel, reported the successful completion of the passage to Vitaly Saveliev, Russia’s Minister of Transport, via a video link. The Minister congratulated SCF on this accomplishment and thanked the Master and his crew for their excellent performance throughout this important task. The reporting ceremony was also attended by Sergey Frank, Chairman of the Board of Directors of PAO Sovcomflot, and Igor Tonkovidov, President and CEO of PAO Sovcomflot.

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