Arctic News

To close this special episode:

The LNG-tanker ‘Vladimir Voronin’ passed the Diamede Islands in the Bering Strait 12 hours ago, June 3, Russian date.

The first LNG-tanker ‘Margerie’, May 18 to May 31, needed 13 days from Sabetta to the Bering Strait. The icebreaker ‘Yamal’ assisted her all along.

The second tanker ‘Voronin’, May 24 to June 3, needed 10 days. The icebreaker ’50 Led Popedy’ assisted her in the Kara Sea, in the Laptev and East Siberian Seas she followed alone the already opened canal by ‘Yamal’, in the Chuckchi Sea ‘Yamal’ assisted her.

It will be interesting to see if there will be a third eastbound LNG shipment soon. However, every ship that has departed Sabetta after Vladimir Voronin has headed west.

Ab article re: the early eastbound voyage by Christophe de Margerie:

The planned Nortth Pole station under construction in Russia has been delayed:

Maybe not surprising everrybody?

White House memo:

News article (might be easier to read):

Interesting keywords are “lease” and “nuclear”.

Yeah very interesting.

Trump wants the Coast Guard to evaluate the possibility of leasing heavy icebreakers until the fleet is operational.

The wheels are turning at certain Taiwanese shipping companies. LLC’s are being formed. Special solicitations are being prepared. And a golden parachute will land in Kentucky.

On the port side aspects, I really hope no one at the WH ever finds the old Project Chariot files…

According to Russian news, the minimum operational draft of the new nuclear-powered icebreaker Arktika has increased from 8.55 (28 ft) to 9.3 m (30.5 ft). This would effectively prevent the vessel from operating in shallow river estuaries.

Winter is over!! Time to prepare for the next one:
OK, so not all these icebreakers are operating in the Arctic, but still.

Krasin, Taymyr, Vaygach, Yamal and 50 Let Pobedy were the only large icebreakers leading convoys in the Arctic. In addition, Admiral Makarov carried out that refueling trip to Kapitan Dranitsyn which, in turn, resupplied Polarstern near the North Pole.

I’m surprised that Ermak is still being docked. With Viktor Chernomyrdin close to commissioning (the vessel is technically ready and they’re only fighting for money), the oldest heavy icebreaker in the Russian fleet should be due for retirement. Its ice class has been downgraded years ago.

It is HOT in the Arctic and it is only June:

Arktika is on sea trials (and this time they intend to go nuclear), the third eastbound LNG shipment has cleared the Northern Sea Route (faster than the two preceding ships), and the Russians have published a new LNG-powered icebreaker design (13 megawatts; 1.5 m level ice).

(no news for the LNG carrier)

It can be hot in Finnmark as well. Here is from the record summer in 2018:

No so hot yet this year, but it MAY be a new record year, who knows??

The nuclear powered container ship Sevmorput to make 4 trips to Asia via the NSR this year:

PS> She looks more like a LASH carrier.

Sevmorput was built as a LASH carrier. However, I don’t think the ship has carried barges for quite some time.

I recall reading somewhere that one of the barges/pontoons used in the recent nuclear-powered missile test that went boink was of former Sevmorput stock.

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Solstad Offshore is preparing for a busy few months in the Arctic:

Meanwhile things are progressing on the LNG2 plant for Novatek and the preparations for year around navigation of the NSR:

Russia is progressing on the construction of nuclear icebreakers for year-round escort serviced along the NSR:

Zvezda has yet to deliver its first ship (probably one of those Aframaxes of which three quarters was built in South Korea) and it’s already taking on the ultimate Russian halo project, the most powerful nuclear-powered icebreaker ever.

As I’ve said before, I’m afraid Project 10510 will become a kind of “white elephant” that sucks in all resources from more reasonable icebreaker construction without being much use on its own.

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The Norwegian spyship M/V Marjata (#4) is moving it’s home port away from Kirkenes on the Russian border to Harstad, which is a more “respectful” distance from the major Russian naval bases on the Kola Peninsula:

This is also the traditional northern point for major bases and NATO activity.

PS> It is not only the spyship, but the whole Military Intelligence unit that is on the move from Kirkenes.
They are not moving further South though, only across the Varangerfjord, to Vadsø:

PS> The US has a surveillance operation. (with US personnel permanently stationed) in/near Vardø.