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Map of Northwest Passage and Northern Searoute

Although the ice in the Arctic is slowly diminishing, regular sea transport has not begun in the area. Russians have perhaps the most interest in Arctic shipping due to the enormous resources near the Arctic Ocean, in their own backyard.

But Russia has two mainfold problems. They need more icebreakers and more infrastructures to use the Northern Sea Route more regularly.

Nikolay Patrushev, Russia’s Security Council’s secretary says instruments for navigation and communication and bases for search and rescue services are not sufficient. Russia plans to build a series of new search and rescue vessels and make the port of Amderma into a main base for a new emergency unit. Six icebreakers are being built, three of them nuclear powered.

Tankers with a draught of over 12 meters can now use the Northern Sea Route and Russia’s second largest producer of natural gas, Novatek, is sending the largest tanker ever through the Northeast Passage in August.

Russia’s Ministry of Transport believes cargo transport through NSR will increase from last year’s 1.8 million tons to 64 million tons by 2020, according to the BarentsObserver.