Two Russian-controlled tankers are hauling oil to China via the rarely used Northern Sea Route (NSR), in a sign of Moscow’s growing ambitions to exploit the shorter route to a key customer.

The two aframaxes, the 111,000-dwt NS Arctic (built 2009) and 114,000-dwt Primorsky Prospect (built 2010), were off the coast of Norway en route to Rizhao, China, according to Kpler tracking data.