The Stena Polaris is approaching its destination – the port of Yosu in South Korea. Her voyage began on September 17 in Russian Ust Luga in the Gulf of Finland, and she is expected to arrive in Yosu in about a week. For part of the voyage of 8,400 nautical miles, the tanker sailed in a convoy headed by a Russian nuclear powered icebreaker through the harsh Northeast Passage.
Sailing via the Northeast Passage offers the expansive Northern Asia opportunities to speed up the freight routes to and from the region. “The voyage with the Stena Polaris is the first project where we are transferring technology and operational know-how from Stena to Hyundai Glovis. At the same time, it is the beginning of important collaboration. Stena’s objective is to expand in Asia together with good partners”, said Carl-Johan Hagman, CEO of Stena Shipping, Drilling and Ferries.
Sweden has had good relations with South Korea ever since the Korean War in the 1950s. Today, 80-90 Swedish companies are established in South Korea and Sweden is regarded as a model with many successful companies. South Korea is a shipping and maritime nation and is naturally interested in Arctic questions. The country has had observers on the Arctic Council since last May. Sweden chaired the council in 2011-2013.
Higher safety requirements
Increased traffic in the Arctic has led to higher safety requirements. IMO (International Maritime Organization) is currently in the process of drawing up a Polar Code that will lay down the basic prerequisites and requirements for transportation through the Arctic. Today, there are only guidelines, “We are, of course, in favor of more explicit requirements in order to ensure safer shipping in the region. Stena has always been at the cutting edge of developments in safety as we are in this case since we are already well equipped and are operating at a level over and above the guidelines currently in force. Nevertheless, we are continuing to develop our operations with further improvements based on our own experience and collaboration with other players”, said Erik Hånell, President and CEO of Stena Bulk AB, in a comment.
Savings via the Northeast Passage
Sailing to South Korea via the Northeast Passage compared with sailing via the Suez Canal, India and the Strait of Malacca cuts 10-13 days off the voyage. A medium-sized tanker such as the Stena Polaris saves around 400 tons of fuel. This represents savings of SEK 2 million in addition to environmental benefits since the voyage takes fewer days.
Patrik Svahn, Manager Commercial Operations in Stena Bulk’s office in Gothenburg, is now on board the Stena Polaris and blogs directly from the ship.
The Stena Polaris, which is owned by Concordia Maritime and has been time-chartered by Stena Bulk for this project, has the following technical data: Length: 183 m, beam: 40 m, draft: 11.3 m, deadweight: 65,000 tons.
About the P-MAX tankers
The P-MAX tankers were designed and built by Stena and Concordia Maritime. They have a double hull, optimum corrosion control, two engine rooms with full water and fire integrity and two propulsion systems. Double propellers and rudders and a specially designed bridge layout give the tanker extremely good maneuverability and a 360° view, which facilitate safe navigation in narrow waters.