Aug 24, 2017

Russian tanker sails through Arctic without icebreaker for first time

by
Patrick Barkham
,
The Guardian
The Christophe de Margerie carried a cargo of liquefied natural gas from Hammerfest in Norway to Boryeong in South Korea in 22 days. Photo: The Guardian
The Christophe de Margerie carried a cargo of liquefied natural gas from Hammerfest in Norway to Boryeong in South Korea in 22 days. Photo: The Guardian

A Russian tanker has travelled through the northern sea route in record speed and without an icebreaker escort for the first time, highlighting how climate change is opening up the high Arctic.

The $300m Christophe de Margerie carried a cargo of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Hammerfest in Norway to Boryeong in South Korea in 19 days, about 30% quicker than the conventional southern shipping route through the Suez Canal.

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The extent of Arctic ice fell to a new wintertime low in March this year after freakishly high temperatures in the polar regions, and hit its second lowest summer extent last September.