"Gas Tanker Completes Arctic Sea Journey"
"A bit of news about the melting of the Arctic waterways associated with climate change: Gazprom, the Russian energy giant, says it recently completed the world’s first liquefied natural gas cargo delivery through the Arctic Northern Sea Route. Escorted by Russian nuclear icebreakers, the giant L.N.G. carrier Ob River went through the waters of the Barents and Kara seas and then through an icy passage between the Vilkitsky and Bering straits."
"Crossings of the Northern Sea Route, also known as the Northeast Passage, were once rare. But the shipping lane along the north coast of Siberia that joins the Atlantic and Pacific is getting busier. Since 2007, the Arctic passage has been nearly ice-free during the late summer and early fall. Danish and Japanese bulk carriers have been going through the passage since 2010, and Russian commerce is taking full advantage.
The attraction is obvious. The route cuts the maritime trip from northern Europe to northeastern Asia by up to 40 percent by comparison with traditional routes through the Panama or Suez canals. Similarly, the Northwest Passage on the western side of the Arctic zone is also opening up."Source: Green/NYT, 12/07/2012