Chinese-owned containership NewNew Polar Bear (IMO 9313204) has reached the Russian port of Kaliningrad after a six-week passage through the Northern Sea Route (NSR), reportedly the first such vessel so to do.
The vessel was acquired earlier this year by a new Chinese shipping company, Hainan Yangpu NewNew Shipping Co. It sailed from St. Petersburg to China at the beginning of July and started the return trip in late August, reaching Kaliningrad last Tuesday October 3rd and spending three days on dock. The ship registered in Hong Kong is 554 feet long with a capacity of 1,600 TEU.
With the level of ice declining along the NSR, resulting in increased attention to Russia’s efforts at sending non-ice reinforced vessels along the route. The first non-ice class Aframax oil tanker, the Leonid Loza (IMO 9412347), departed early in September from the terminal near Murmansk, heading for Ningbo, China. According to the permit issued by the Russian authorities, the tanker, which is registered in Liberia, was being permitted to sail unescorted in ice-free water but was still required to have an escort in areas where it encountered ice.
In September Gazprom sent its first liquefied natural gas (LNG) shipments to China also using the NSR.
The NewNew Polar Bear left Shanghai, going first to Arkhangelsk, and then to Baltiysk, in the Kaliningrad province. It will now proceed to St. Petersburg as its final port. Its owners have said that they expect to maintain the service through the sailing season, which traditionally runs between July and November.
China-based Safetrans Shipping has acquired some containerships and has said that it would be maintaining weekly service along the NSR. At the end of August the company sent the largest containership on the route, the SFT Turkey (IMO 9238753), a 50,000 dwt vessel with a capacity for 4,250 TEU.
Meanwhile, Rosatom has said that its target is to reach 36m tonnes of cargo transported along the NSR this year.
2005-built, Hong Kong-flagged, 16,324 gt Newnew Polar Bear is owned and managed by Hainan Xin Xin Yang Shipping of Haikou, Hainan, China. It is entered with London Club on behalf of Hainan Xin Xin Yang Shipping Co Ltd. As of October 10th it was moored at St Petersburg, Russia.
2011-built, Liberia-flagged, 83,747 gt Leonid Loza is owned by NS Breeze Shipping Inc care of Sun Ship management of Dubai, UAE.
2003-built, Panama-flagged, 39,941 gt SFT Turkey is owned and managed by Safetrans Shipping Ltd of Torola, British Virgin Islands. ISM manager is Qingdao Enhance Intl Shipping HK of Hong Kong, China. It is entered with London Club on behalf of Safetrans Shipping Ltd.