LNG modules embark on 6,000 km winter odyssey to Murmansk

A map showing the area of the Northern Sea Route above Russia. (iStock)

The Pugnax and Audax are making it through the thick sea-ice of the Northern Sea Route on their way from China to the Kola Bay.

It is far from the first midwinter Arctic voyage of the two 206 meter long ice-protected carriers.

The Pugnax sailed the route in late December 2021 and was followed by the Audax only about two months later. Several more voyages have been made.

But it is probably the first time that the two carriers sail together in the same convoy.

The heavy lift vessels that are operated by Dutch company Red Box Energy Services have become crucial for Russian natural gas company Novatek and its development of the Arctic LNG 2 project.

Used for gravity-based structures

The ships have brought a significant number of modules needed for the construction of the project’s so-called gravity-based structures. The Arctic LNG 2 includes three structures, each comprised by 14 modules. The first of the structures was towed to the project production site in the Ob Bay in August last year and is due to start production in early 2024.

Construction works at Novatek’s construction center in Belokamenka outside Murmansk continue although the Arctic LNG 2 project in November 2023 was added to the U.S sanctions list against Russia.

Both ships set out from the Chinese port of Penglai on the 6th of January. They are expected to make it to Belokamenka on the 17th of February. They are escorted by nuclear-powered icebreaker Arktika, data from the Northern Sea Route General Administration show.

Both ships are designed by Aker Arctic, the Finnish company specializing in of ice-going vessels.

Related stories from around the North: 

Canada: Canada comes out in favour of heavy fuel oil ban in Arctic, Eye on the Arctic

Finland: Finland investigates oil leak risks from Baltic Sea shipwrecks, Yle News

Greenland: Inuit work towards greater voice in shipping as IMO meeting gets underway, Eye on the Arctic

Iceland: Iceland to restrict heavy fuel oil use in territorial waters, Eye on the Arctic

Norway: LNG-reloading operations end in Norway’s Arctic waters, The Independent Barents Observer

Russia: Shipping figures rising on Russia’s Northern Sea Route, The Independent Barents Observer

United States: Carnival Corporation ships switch to cleaner fuel on Arctic cruises, Radio Canada International

Atle Staalesen, The Independent Barents Observer

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

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