Tankship NSR Passage: All Alone Without the Icebreaker ...

Thursday, October 03, 2013
Stella Polaris: Photo credit Stena

Stena Bulk’s tanker 'Stena Polaris', with a cargo of 44,000 tons of naphtha, is sailing from the Gulf of Finland via the North-East Passage to South Korea. The 'Stena Polaris' left Russian Ust Luga in the Gulf of Finland on 17 September 2013, and is expected to arrive at the port of Yosu in South Korea on 18 October. The voyage is a joint project between Stena Bulk and South Korean Hyundai Glovis. An excerpt from the latest ship's blog follows:

All alone on the Laptev Sea without the icebreaker
IcebreakerTaymyr is leading the way. However there is no more ice, only open water. So there is not really any need for the 36.8 MW nuclear icebreaker to escort us and the Boris Vilkicky any longer. Late last night Taymyr called us on the radio and asked if we had any claims on her assistance. As she had led the way and broken the ice in an noble way we could reply nothing else than “no”. Ok, so now you are on your own, she replied and made a swift U-turn and shortly after disappeared in the dark night like a ghost ship. We had expected her to escort us until this morning but the ice conditions lightened and the sea opened up so that suddenly changed. She is now heading back to Mattisen Strait to lead the next convoy through the ice.

We are heading towards the New Siberian Islands where we will meet her sister Vaygach for our next transit through ice. The latest information is that we again have to drop anchor before the ice limit and await assistance as the icebreaker is occupied with another convoy. As it looks now we will have to wait at the anchorage for at least two days, but maybe just like last time this will change quickly. Otherwise we will make another attempt to catch some of that frozen fish for dinner…

According to the ice advisor the ice will be much heavier during the next transit and it will be solid all the way over the East Siberian Sea and through Long Strait which is considered to be the most complicated part of the Northern Sea Route. The temperature is always below zero degrees Celsius here so there will be more of the old ice which is the harder and stronger type of ice and the type of ice you want to avoid. But we are not worried onboard, only excited. We have great expectations for the last icebreaker assisted part of our voyage. Both for what we are about to see and what we will experience. Hopefully we get to see some wildlife, but also we will experience some truly Arctic ice conditions. Don’t get me wrong, the voyage so far has been quite harsh and cold but from what we hear it will be nothing compared to what we have ahead of us…

 Ongoing reports are available at:http://www.stenanorthernsearoute.com 

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