Tanker Damaged by Ice in Northern Sea Route, Remains Stuck

Undated photo of the tanker Nordvik.
Tanker Nordvik, pictured here, is only rated to operate in the lightest of ice conditions.

UPDATE: Conflicting reports exist over whether or not the tanker remains stuck in the ice floe.

A tanker fully laden with diesel fuel has found out first hand that the Northern Sea Route is no place for taking chances.

According to reports, the 6,403 dwt tanker Nordvik sustained damage and was taking on water following a September 4th run-in with an ice floe on the Arctic Northern Sea Route. So far there have been no reports of an oil spill or injuries, but it would seem that the tanker remains stuck in the floe and is awaiting the arrival of another ice-strengthened tanker to come discharge her cargo.

A report by the Northern Sea Route Administration says that the Nordvik was sailing from Ob Bay to Khatanga with 4,944 tons of diesel fuel when it ran into ice in the Matisen Strait.

The Nordvik sustained damage to one her ballast tanks and was taking on water, but the ingress was stopped after crews plugged the hole.

The Barents Observer, citing information from the NSR Administration, reported that the vessel had permission to sail in the Kara Sea and the Laptev Sea in light ice conditions and only under escort by an icebreaker.

The owners of Nordvik, identified as Khatanga Commercial Port, is reportedly negotiating with a Russian icebreaker to come escort the vessel to Khatanga.

The incident underscores the threats and concerns held by authorities and shippers alike over increased shipping in the Arctic region.

“[This] accident was a direct threat to the lives of sailors and the ecology of the Arctic,” a representative for the Seafarer’s Union of Russia said on the union’s website, according to the Barents Observer report. “Vessels like that should not be sailing on the NSR, simply because they are not capable of withstanding the ice conditions.”