Thursday, September 9, 2010

SCF Baltica tanker completed the Northern Sea Route

Northern Sea Route – the shortest sea lane between the European part of Russia and Russia’s Far East,
historically it formed a national transport communication system in the Arctic

From SCF Unicom & Hydro International

CF BALTICA, DWT 117000, completed an historic NSR voyage by passing Bering Strait into Pacific Ocean on 27th August at 08.00 hrs Moscow time.

This is the first time that a tanker of her size completed such voyage. An historic event.
The tanker loaded with 70,000 tonnes of gas condensate in direction to her discharge port Ningbo (China) ETA in the first half of September 2010 (06/09).
The NSR voyage had been carefully planned by thorough and professional preparatory work by SCF Unicom, the Technical Manager and Operator of this vessel and her Owners SCF Sovcomflot.

These involved all areas related to the navigation/technical as well as all necessary requirements of NSR rules and Russian legislation in order to provide safe navigation and protection of the Arctic environment.
Risk Assessment and the required actions of crew and related shore unites in a potential emergency were thoroughly considered and contingency plans were developed.

SCF Unicom’s tanker crew includes seafarers with practical experience of ice operations including sailing along the NSR shipping lanes.
SCF Baltica’s crew received additional and upgrading training for this voyage.
Thorough support and assistance was received by the departments within Russia’s Ministry of Transport.

The vessel’s route took her through the Barents Sea (North of Cape Zhelaniya on Novaya Zemlya Island); the Vilkitsky Strait, which ended in the Taimyr ice field, then through the Sannikov Strait, the Laptev Sea, the ice fields of the East-Siberian Sea (checking with Mogilyuk) and Chukchi sea.
The passage of 2500 miles between Murmansk and Pevek required only 11 days.
She arrived at Pevek on 24th of August pm ahead of her schedule.
At different stages of the NSR route, passing in particular through Vilkitsky, Sannikov and Longa Straits, the tanker was escorted by nuclear-powered ice-breakers Taimyr, Rossiya and 50 let Pobedy (50 years of Victory).

Radar images of RADARSAT-1 were used to assess ice situation along the ship route and to select the optimal itinerary.

Receiving centres of the ScanEx's network were used for operational acquisition, processing and transmission of the satellite imagery data: automated ground receiving stations UniScan in Moscow, Megion and Magadan.
After processing the product was transferred in real-time via the Internet network through "Atomflot-Kosmosnimki" geo-service.
The geo-service was created based on the GeoMixer technology in behalf of Atomflot that placed a request to ScanEx to collect and process satellite radar data in 2010 about the ice situation on the NSR route and the Non-Arctic freezing seas of Russia.

During the summer navigation period FSU Atomflot (
the service base for the nuclear icebreakers) on numerous occasions used satellite radar data for escorting ships along the NSR route.
The work experience shows that the application of space images allows increasing only the safety but the economic efficiency of maritime ice operations under the conditions of Arctica.

By the end of this voyage SCF Baltica will have covered 7000 miles from Murmansk to China instead of the 12000 miles required passing Suez Canal.
Statistical data collected during the voyage will form the basis for planning similar voyages in 2011 and for further research required mapping new deep water routes in the high latitudes of the Arctic.

Links :
  • Google Maps : A comparison of traditional shipping routes and the Northern Sea Route (NSR).

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