JRL NEWSWATCH: “Tanker crosses Russian Arctic route without icebreaker assistance; Commercial shipping on the Northern Sea Route starts earlier than ever before.” – Barents Observer/ Atle Staalesen
By late May, a carrier had set out on the icy route without icebreaker escort.
“… [S]ea ice along the Russian Arctic coast is quickly vanishing as temperatures … have been reaching record highs. With the retreating ice comes tanker traffic. … [T]he ‘Christophe de Margerie’ … on May [19th] kickstarted this year’s shipping season across the eastern part of the Northern Sea Route. … load[ing] up liquefied natural gas in Sabetta … due to arrive in the Chinese port of Jingtang … June [11th]. … the earliest east-bound shipment on the route ever for this kind of vessel. … Ice maps … show … open waters in the southernmost parts of the Laptev Sea and the East Siberian Sea. …”