Russian shipowner Sovcomflot (SCF Group) has unveiled a video of an Arc7 LNG carrier making a world-first voyage through the Arctic waters of the Northern Sea Route (NSR).
The dramatic clip shows the 172,600-cbm ice-breaking LNG ship Christophe de Margerie (built 2017) accompanied by the 23,439-gt Russian nuclear ice-breaker 50 Let Pobedy (built 2007).
In an Instagram post, Sovcomflot said chief executive Igor Tonkovidov and the vessel’s master, Sergei Gen, reported in via video link during a working government meeting to Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Trutnev on the vessel’s return voyage through the NSR to Asia.
The Christophe de Margerie left Yamal LNG’s Sabetta terminal with a cargo on 5 January.
The vessel, and the 172,600-cbm sistership Nikolay Yevgenov (built 2019), made the passage through the NSR without ice-breaker assistance in 11 days.
The Yamal flagship returned in ballast, leaving China’s Jiangsu terminal on 27 January.
The LNG carrier met the 50 Let Pobedy near Cape Dezhnev.
The vessels are due to arrive back in Sabetta on 19 February.
“For the first time in history, a large-capacity cargoship overcame the eastern part of the NSR in February,” Sovcomflot said.
In contrast, the Nikolay Yevgenov sustained damage to its central 15MW azipod during its NSR passage and is returning via the longer Suez Canal route.
Previously the NSR has been open for navigation from July until early December.
But Russia sent the first LNG carriers along the route in May 2020 as it moves to trial opening of the route for eventual year-round navigation from 2024.