SCF sets Arctic record
Sovcomflot suezmax Vladimir Tikhonov will follow the Arctic sea route from Murmansk to its destination in Southeast Asia.

But what makes this voyage unique is that it is the first time a tanker of this size has taking this route to Asia.

The 160,000-dwt enhanced ice class 1A (Arc 4) ship (built 2006) will go to the north of the Novosibirsk Islands, Sovcomflot has said.

And the Novatek-chartered tanker, laden with 120,000 tonnes of gas condensate, will expect to complete its voyage in under a month as opposed to a non-Arctic timescale of around a month and a half.

SCF Baltica made trip last year
The voyage builds on a previous trip in August last year which saw Sovcomflot’s 100,000-dwt aframax SCF Baltica follow the same route.

The shipowner has taken extra safety measures given the region’s lack of infrastructure and inhospitable navigation conditions.

These include a mobile search-and-rescue station to counter oil spills, specialist diving equipment on one of the icebreakers deployed for the voyage and a Glonass communications system.

Ships plying Arctic sea lanes are more exposed to risk compared to other sea regions. Protection and Indemnity insurer Gard has highlighted the importance of preparation for shipowners undertaking Arctic voyages.

By Julian Macqueen in London, Tradewinds