The nuclear container ship Sevmorput sailed the entire water area of the Northern Sea Route (NSR) in the Arctic Ocean from St. Petersburg to Vostochny port in Russia’s Far East in a 20-day journey that ended on October 30, 2022.
Sevmorput owned by Atomflot, a subsidiary of the Russian state atomic energy corporation Rosatom, made this journey from St. Petersburg to Vostochny, located in the Nakhodka Gulf of the Sea of Japan, without any icebreaker escort, according to a Rosatom release.
“The passage is being implemented within the framework of the federal project ‘Development of the Northern Sea Route”, Rosatom said.
Rosatom operates nuclear powered icebreakers that help keep the NSR open for navigation. Earlier this year, Russia commissioned a new nuclear-powered icebreaker named Sibir, the first in a series of such icebreakers being constructed under its “Project 22220”, which will help keep the Northern Sea Route open for year-round shipping through the Arctic. In addition, Rosatom is equipping the NSR facilities, building port infrastructure, and developing transit.
The Northern Sea Route via the Arctic is the shortest route between East Asian and Western European ports. Russia’s Far East and Arctic region have a great export potential due to the proximity of such countries as China, India, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Myanmar, among others.
The statement said the cargo delivered by Sevmorput to the Vostochny port includes crane components, oversize cargo and watercraft.
“While waiting for mooring, in order not to waste time, we started unloading while in roadstead”, Sergey Bralgin, master of the Sevmorput nuclear container ship, said in a statement.
The statement also said that during the passage from St. Petersburg to the Vostochny port, specialists of the Marine Research Center of Lomonosov Moscow State University conducted environmental monitoring of the Northern Sea Route water area.
“They collected data on the fauna of the marine areas of the Russian Arctic and the seawater condition in autumn and pre-winter period within the boundaries of the Northern Sea Route, as well as materials on the hydrophysical parameters of each of the seas traversed”, it said.
A study undertaken by the Marine Research Center of Lomonosov Moscow State University in collaboration with international experts has found that commercial shipping currently has no significant impact on marine ecosystems in the Arctic. The comprehensive study was based on data from 50 monitoring stations in the waters of the Northern Sea Route.
A cooperation agreement was signed last month between Rosatom and the Marine Research Center of Lomonosov Moscow State University to continue comprehensive research and monitoring of above-water and underwater environmental safety in the waters of Russia’s Arctic zone during 2022-2023.