LONDON: A liquefied natural gas (LNG) tanker carrying cargo from the Yamal LNG plant has spent this week making its way through Arctic waters north of Russia towards Asia, marking the first voyage of the 2019 summer season across the Northern Sea Route.

The Vladimir Rusanov, an Arc7-classed LNG tanker that can plough through semi-cleared waters, left the Sabetta port on June 29 and is in the Chukchi Sea close to the Bering Strait, Refinitiv Eikon shipping data showed on Friday.

The route is frozen for most of the year but is being increasingly used during the summer as ice clears quicker and for longer as the climate changes. Vessels are now able to cross the route without the use of ice-breakers to clear their path.

Independent Russian gas producer Novatek began operations at Yamal, in northwest Russia, with the aim to ship some of the LNG eastwards with its Arc7 tankers.

Published in Dawn, July 6th, 2019

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