With the continuous melt of Arctic sea ice, the Region might become all free of summer ice within a next decade.
Previous year which was marked as the longest sailing season for the Northern Sea Route, managed to handle 34 vessels. The total cargo transported, reached 820.000 tones.
So far the year of 2012 managed to handle only 9 vessels on the Northern Sea Route. However, if the sailing season extends, this year might become new record for the new transportation path between Asia, Northern part of Europe and North America.
Nuclear powered ice breakers have been escorting vessels in transit in convoys this summer as the ice level was extremely law. This situation was different from the one which occurred in 2011, when nuclear powered ice breakers had to follow one ship at the time in order to bring it through thick Arctic ice.
The first two vessels to sail through Northern Sea Route this summer were Russian ´Indiga´ and ´Varzuga´ which transported diesel fuel.
´Nordic Odyssey´ and ´Nordic Orion´ sailed from Murmansk in northern Russian to ports in China with close to 70.000 tons of iron ore concentrate.
The gas tankers ´Marilee´ and ´Palva´ both owned by Murmansk Shipping Company, each transported close to 60.000 tons of gas condensate to South Korea.
Also ´Vengeri´, the tugboat and the Chinese non – nuclear ice breaker ´Xuelong´ were escorted along the Northern Sea Route this summer while sailing to the northern hemisphere.
The scientists report that the situation on the Northern Sea Route meets the average standards. The path from Kara Gate to New Siberian Islands seems to be totally ice free, however the part of the way in East Siberian Sea, seems to be more difficult than recorded last year.
Currently the trip via Northern Sea Route takes 9 – 11 days on average speed of 12 knots.