News review of the events on the NSR
#2 May 2020

1. Rosatomflot provided support for early test voyage

On May 30, at the eastern edge of the ice of the Chukchi Sea, the Russian nuclear icebreaker “Yamal” completed the support of LNG tanker “Christophe de Margerie” owned by Sovcomflot Company. Prior to this, Yamalmax class vessels navigated the Northern Sea Route (NSR) only from July to early January.

“Christophe de Margerie” left the port of Sabetta on May 18 with the cargo on board. “Yamal” icebreaker started the escorting ship the next day, May 19, at the point of the caravan formation near the ice edge of the Kara Sea. The icebreaker drove the carrier 2,200 nautical miles.

During the passage, the crews of “Yamal” and “Christophe de Margerie” worked out joint interaction in various operating modes. They managed to successfully overcome the most difficult areas of the NSR: the Vilkitskiy Strait and the Aion Massive of the East Siberian Sea. The maximum ice thickness on the route reached 1.3 meters.

The crew of the tanker has studied the possibility of movement along the route stern and bow.

“This early test voyage turned over a new page in the Arctic navigation. The crews of “Yamal” and “Christophe de Margerie” have gained unique experience that will become the foundation for arranging future year-round navigation via the entire Northern Sea Route,” said Mustafa Kashka, Director General of Atomflot.

The voyage results will be studied by experts. But now it can be said about expanding the navigation period in the east direction to 9-10 months, as well as the movement to regular year-round icebreaker support in the waters of the Northern Sea Route in the future.

At the moment, “Christophe de Margerie” continues to move in the direction of one of the Chinese ports.

2. Russian authorities explore fish supplies along NSR

The President of Russia instructed to work out the idea of launching regular deliveries of fish from the Far East to the center of the country along the Northern Sea Route. In this process it is necessary to consolidate the efforts of the state operator of the route – Rosatom corporation, the railway state company “Russian Railways”, ports, and fish producers.

The initiative to carry out regular deliveries of fish via the NSR was addressed by the acting Governor of Kamchatka region, Vladimir Solodov. This region provides a third of the all-Russian catch of fish and other biological resources.

Solodov noted that now delivery goes by sea to Vladivostok, and then by rail through all of Russia, that takes many days.

At the same time, the refrigeration and other capacities of Vladivostok are overloaded at the peak of the fishing season. Because of this, there are large delays in the transshipment of fish, which has become one of the factors in the refusal of fishing companies to supply the domestic market.

The solution to the problem could be the active involvement of the Northern Sea Route. Deliveries along the NSR have a number of advantages, including reducing the transportation time and saving product quality. At present, the NSR is used for deliveries, but not regularly, this refers to single voyages, which were carried out, for example, by the Russian nuclear container ship “Sevmorput” in 2019.

3. The first Chinese icebreaker preparing for Arctic mission

The first Chinese polar icebreaker “Xue Long 2” (Snow Dragon 2) will go to the Arctic, where it will take part in sea exercises and scientific research, reports China Daily. Completion of all preparatory work for the expedition is expected by mid-June.

The ship is currently being serviced at the Jiangnan Shipyard Group in Shanghai after the first Antarctic expedition. The icebreaker left Shenzhen on October 15, 2019 for the 36th Chinese Antarctic expedition and returned to Shanghai on April 23 after more than 35 thousand nautical miles. The trip lasted 198 days, during it the icebreaker visited “Zhongshan” and “Great Wall” stations in Antarctica.

4. Research vessel “Mikhail Somov” delivers cargo to 15 polar stations

“Mikhail Somov” left the port of Arkhangelsk on May 26 for the first voyage in 2020. The ship will deliver cargo to the polar stations of the White and Barents Seas – fuel, food, medicines, equipment for aerological research, building materials.

“We will deliver a large amount of building materials, in particular, to a station on the Zhizhgin Island in the White Sea, we have planned a large construction there, expansion so that meteorologists will have more comfortable living. In addition, we will install a solar power station there,” told TASS the Deputy Head of the Northern Administration for Hydrometeorological and Environmental Monitoring Aleksey Barakov.

This year the ship will make 3 supply voyages, and not two, as it was in previous years. The first, which has already begun, will take about 16 days. The second trip is scheduled for June 25th. “Mikhail Somov” will go to the stations in the Kara and Barents Seas, including the northernmost station in the country on the Heiss Island of the Franz Josef Land archipelago.

During the third voyage, the vessel will have to reach Chukotka. In total, by November “Mikhail Somov” will deliver cargo to more than 60 remote weather stations and change polar explorers. In addition, expedition participants will have more time to conduct research.

5. First investments in the future port of Indiga: more than $ 5 million

The investor put up about $ 5 million in the construction of a deep-sea ice-free port in Indiga town, located in the Nenets Autonomous District of the Russia. Research and geological work has already been carried out there. The construction of the mooring wall is planned for next year.

The port will be designed and built primarily for handling such cargoes as coking coal, wood, fertilizers and chemical products, paper. The total volume of cargo transshipment may reach 80 million tons, and it is already known that some of them will be sent to Japan.

The project is implemented by “AEON Corporation”. The construction is scheduled to begin in 2021, and complete in 2025. The total investment may be more than 300 billion rubles.

A new railway “Belkomur” with a length of 1,161 km will connect the new port with other regions of the country. It is a complex project of industrial and infrastructural development of the European north of Russia and the Urals, with the possibility of the shortest access to the main ports near the Northern Sea Route (Murmansk, Arkhangelsk, Belomorsk, in the long term Sabetta, Indiga, etc.).

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