Head of Sovcomflot: Northern Sea Route may be used all year round

The general director of Sovcomflot, Sergey Frank, said at a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin that the Northern Sea Route may be consistently used for five months of the year, and in a westerly direction, year-round navigation is possible.

Sergey Frank, in answering the president’s question on how long the Northern Sea Route is closed during the year, said “In fact, this route is coming to life before our eyes. Using the high-latitudinal route with proper navigation and icebreaker escort already provides a stable, reliable five-month window of opportunity,” said Frank. In his words, the equipment and the construction of a new generation of ice breakers will open up a “6-month window of opportunity”.

“We can confidently say that the Yamal project of year-round navigation in a westerly direction is possible, and has already been mastered. And of course, the size of ships will increase, but it’s quite a task,” said Sergey Frank. “Navigation to the east in the present circumstances is likely to be limited to six months.” According to Frank, the eastern sector of the Arctic is “limited” more than the west. He agreed with the president that the most complex sector is the district of Novosibirsk Islands.

The head of Sovcomflot reported that a regular journey is made along the Northern Sea Route from Murmansk to Japan by the Sovcomflot tanker. This year, the large-capacity vessel performing the transport of hydrocarbons, started off two weeks earlier than navigation in 2010, 2011 and 2012. Frank noted that last year, the last journey was on November 29, almost in December.

In addition, he shared with the president the results of the company. In the last 7 years, the deadweight of vessels the company increased from 4 to 12 million tons. During this period, liquefied natural gas technology and a shuttle service in the Russian Arctic have been mastered.

Source: Arctic-Info www.arctic-info.com

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