Another first for Arctic Bulk  


With their knowledge and experience, Arctic Bulk has successfully assisted Gazprom Marketing & Trading to execute the world’s first LNG vessel passage through the Northern Sea Route (NSR).  The LNG tanker ‘Ob River’ chartered by Gazprom Marketing & Trading and operated by Dynagas (Greece) will sail the NSR passage this month.

‘Ob River’ discharged her LNG cargo in Japan and replenished bunkers and provisions in South Korea last week, after which she started the ballasting voyage to Western Europe via NSR. The vessel is scheduled to pass Cape Dezhnev, mainland Russia’s easternmost point, and enter the Chukchi Sea for a rendezvous with the Russian nuclear icebreaker ’50 let Pobedy’ around 9th October.

One of the goals for this voyage of “Ob River” is to collect data and verify the technical and commercial viability of the NSR for the whole LNG trade. The results of this first voyage will be very important for the whole LNG industry and the future development of NSR

Arctic Bulk AG, a venture between the trading company Promintergroup AG and Tschudi Arctic Transit AS, promotes and facilitates NSR shipments. Both companies were among the pioneers for initiating the first non-Russian commercial shipment through the NSR in 2010 when “MV Nordic Barents” successfully transported a cargo of iron ore from Sydvaranger Gruve, Kirkenes to China. This new trade route saves time, fuel and emissions and reduces piracy risk.

History was again made in August 2011, when the 162 000 tons Suezmax tanker “Vladimir Tikhonov” took the shortcut from Europe to Asia along the NSR.  Prior to departure in Honningsvåg (near North Cape), the total cargo of 120 000 tons gas condensate was transferred from two smaller tankers to the larger tanker. The transshipment operation, conducted by Tschudi Arctic Transit AS, successfully contributed to the realization of this historical Suezmax voyage.

In September 2011, Arctic Bulk assisted with yet another two historical events:

- On completion of seismic surveys in the Barents Sea, the 3D Seismic vessel Polarcus Alima departed Hammerfest, Norway for her voyage northeast to New Zealand. This was the first known passage of a 3D Seismic vessel and a significant first in the seismic industry. The expected time of this route, compared to via the Panama Canal, amounts to some 8 days thus making substantial savings.

- Also in September, the Panamax Sanko Odyssey, operated by Danish Nordic Bulk Carriers, became the largest bulk carrier ever to transit the NSR.  Arctic Bulk has followed this “first” by sending a total of four Panamax voyages northeast to China.  The success of these bulk carriers confirms the business logic of a shorter route to the Far East for these substantial vessels.

Now with the LNG voyage, Arctic Bulk is naturally proud of adding another “first” to their list of achievements.