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ABS publishes advisory for North Sea navigation

LNG Industry,

ABS, the provider of global maritime classification services, has released an advisory for navigating the Northern Sea route. The Navigating the Northern Sea Route Advisory provides support to shipowners and operators intending to transit the commercial shipping routes through the Arctic seas.

The comprehensive advisory, which was developed with assistance from Russia's Central Marine Research and Design Institute, provides owners with the information they need to apply for permits and to identify the possible technical and operational risks that could arise when trading in some of the world's most challenging commercial shipping environments.

ABS Chief Technology Officer, Todd Grove, commented: "The Northern Sea Route was virtually unnavigable by all but powerful icebreakers just a few short years ago.

The Russian Federation's recent moves to encourage international shipping through the Northern Sea Route (NSR) and the melting ice floes there have opened commercial shipping opportunities. "The NSR's growing popularity has positive implications for transit times between Asia and Northern Europe, but the often unpredictable and unfamiliar shipping environment through the north also poses operational and technical challenges. This advisory was developed to provide the industry with some of the information it needs to navigate those challenges safely and efficiently, while also helping to minimize the impact on the environment," Grove explained.

The advisory includes:

  • The Northern Sea Route
  • The Arctic environment
  • NSR Regulations
  • Winterization strategies
  • The practice of navigating in ice-covered waters
  • Ports of the NSR

Trading through the NSR has the potential to reduce typical transit times between Japan and Rotterdam by as much as 3400 miles (ten days) compared to the traditional route via the Suez Canal. This reduction results it gains in overall vessel utilisation as well as reductions in bunker costs. The NSR also will provide access to the growing energy and industrial activity in northern Russia, projects that already have led to greater tanker traffic in the area and provided the impetus for several recent orders of ice-class LNG (liquefied natural gas) carriers for future export trades.

The Navigating the Northern Sea Route Advisory is available to download here.

Adapted from press release by Katie Woodward

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