• Dynagen had prepared for the trans-Arctic Ocean voyage for more than a year.

    FOTO: Kystverket

Arctic Ocean gets first gas cargo

A fully loaded LNG tanker has for the first time sailed along the Northern Sea Route from Norway to Japan.

Gas tanker the "Ob River" took the cargo aboard at Melkøya, Finnmark County, on 7 November. The ship is now lying outside one of Japan’s major LNG terminals in Japan waiting to unload 134,738 cubic metres of liquefied natural gas.

A subsidiary of giant Russian company Gazprom owns the cargo.

Tankskipet "Ob River" lastar ved LNG-terminalen på Melkøya i Finnmark. Statoil er operatør for anlegget og eig storparten av gassen.

Tanker "Ob River" at the Melkøya LNG Terminal in Finnmark.

FOTO: Dynagas

“The journey went according to plan,” says Tony Lauritzen in Greek shipping company Dynagen. He adds that Dynagen had prepared for the trans-Arctic Ocean voyage for more than a year.

“The ship first did a test run without cargo on board along the same route, but in the opposite direction from Japan over the Arctic Ocean,” he says by phone from Athens.

Mr Lauritzen also explains that two Russian nuclear-powered icebreakers accompanied the whole trip along the Northern Sea Route.

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Arctic Ocean too unsafe

“Communications systems must be significantly improved if oil, gas, and cruise activities are to be increased in northern regions,” says Jon Leon Ervik at NCA.

“The ice wasn’t so thick, but often around 40 centimetres. We’re still required to use icebreakers. This is a particularly important safety measure. Icebreakers are more than just icebreakers. They’re escort and rescue vessels with many support functions, such as for towing and as a hospital ship,” says Mr Lauritzen.

He estimates the sailing season in the north lasts from the very end of July to the first half of November.

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