A Russian icebreaking LNG carrier has become the first commercial vessel to travel the full length of the Northern Sea Route without an icebreaker escort.
The Sovcomflot-owned Christophe de Margerie completed the journey from Norway to South Korea via the NSR on August 17, 2017 in just 19 days, about 30 percent faster than the regular route through the Suez Canal.
Christophe de Margerie completed the 2,193 nautical mile journey through the NSR in just 6 days, 12 hours and 15 minutes – a new record for the famed Arctic route.
The NSR extends from Cape Zhelaniya of the Novaya Zemlya archipelago to Cape Dezhnev at Chukotka, Russia’s easternmost continental point.
The image below provided by Genscape Vesseltracker shows the AIS track of the Christophe de Margerie during the journey:
Delivered in March, Christophe de Margerie is the world’s first and currently the only icebreaking LNG carrier. The vessel has been built to order for SCF Group (Sovcomflot) to serve the Yamal LNG project and transport LNG year-round in the difficult ice conditions of the Kara Sea and Gulf of Ob.
The LNG carrier is capable of sailing independently through ice of up to 2.1 meters thick and is assigned an ice class Arc7, the highest ice class among existing merchant vessels. The vessel features a 45 MW propulsion system, which is comparable to the capacity of a modern nuclear-powered icebreaker. Christophe de Margerie became the world’s first vessel with a high ice-class to have three Azipod units installed, providing the vessel with a high ice-breaking capability and significant maneuverability.
The LNG carrier is named after Christophe de Margerie, the former CEO of Total, who played a key role in developing the investment decisions and technological basis for the Yamal LNG project.