New Arctic industry gives boost in icy shipments

The port of Sabetta is a key logistical hub in the Russian Arctic. (Atle Staalesen/The Independent Barents Observer)

Russia’s nuclear-powered icebreakers made a total of 435 ship escort operations in the first half of 2023. New industrial projects in the Yenisey Bay now generate growth in Arctic shipping, says nuclear icebreaker operator Atomflot.

In the course of winter and spring, the fleet of nuclear powered icebreakers opened the waters a total of 435 times for ships sailing to Russian Arctic destinations. That is an increase of 11 shipments compared with the same period last year, nuclear power company Rosatom informs.

“The growth in goods traffic is connected with the ongoing building of new projects in the Yenisey Bay,” says Atomflot Director Leonid Irlitsa.

Irlitsa took over the lead at Atomflot after former director Mustafa Kasha unexpectedly resigned from the job in 2022.

In the six-month period, a total of 74 escort shipments were made to the Yenisey Bay where coal company Severnaya Zvezda is in the process of developing its Syradasayskoye project and oil company Rosneft builds its Vostok Oil project.

Projects projected to boost shipping 

In addition, the icebreakers made 200 sailings to Novatek’s ports in Sabetta and Utrenneye, and 89 to Gazprom Neft’s Arctic Gate terminal in the Ob Bay. A total of 72 escorts were made to Dudinka on the Yenisey River for company Nornickel.

The industrial projects currently under development in the Russian Arctic will lead to an unprecedented level of shipping on the Northern Sea Route. Rosneft’s Vostok Oil is alone projected to produce more than 100 tons per year, all of which is to be shipped from the new Sever Bay oil terminal.

Russia today has a fleet of seven nuclear-powered icebreaker. Three of them are newly built vessels of the LK-60 class (Project 22220). Another three icebreakers of the kind are due to enter service in the course of the next four years.

Related stories from around the North: 

Antarctica: AI tool developed for polar shipping to help vessels reduce emissions, Eye on the Arctic

Canada: Qanittaq Clean Arctic Shipping Initiative gets $91.6 million from Ottawa, Eye on the Arctic

Denmark/Greenland: New guideline launched for Arctic-specific risk assessment in shipping, Eye on the Arctic

Finland: Finland’s aging icebreaker fleet needs modernization, Yle News

Iceland: Int’l Arctic emergency marine exercise will lead to better response coordination, say participants, Eye on the Arctic

Norway: The Viking Sky incident – A wake-up call for the Arctic cruise industry?, Eye on the Arctic

RussiaIce conditions on Northern Sea Route may pose navigation challenges this season, The Independent Barents Observer

United States: ‘Uber for icebreakers’ idea gains traction in U.S. Senate, Alaska Public Media

Atle Staalesen, The Independent Barents Observer

For more news from the Barents region visit The Independent Barents Observer.

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