On November 16, Monchegorsk, the Arctic-class diesel electric container vessel owned by OJSC MMC Norilsk Nickel returned from Shanghai to the port of Dudinka from its first commercial trip by the eastern part of the Northern Sea Route.
On September 16 this container carrier left Murmansk for its first voyage from Murmansk to Shanghai via Dudinka and Busang. This is the shortest route for delivering Norilsk’s products from its production sites to consumers in Southeast Asia. Norilsk says this “was the first time in the history of navigation along the Northern Sea Route and in the history of MMC Norilsk Nickel, when a commercial vessel owned by Russia’s leading miner and metal producer cruised the eastern part of the Northern Sea Route without any ice-breaker support.”
According to Sergey Buzov, Deputy General Director – Head of Transport and Logistics unit of Norilsk Nickel, “for us, it was an invaluable experience, which we will use in future planning of our transport operations. In addition, the voyage may be regarded as the company’s contribution to the development of Russian Maritime Declaration in exploration and development of new Arctic regions and Arctic wealth. It proves the effectiveness of decisions made by Maritime Council and Russian Ministry of Transport to explore the Northern Sea Route as a short transit thoroughfare connecting Europe and Southeast Asia, and confirms the possibility of prolonged Arctic navigation”.
Captain Sergey Kudryavtsev and the crew took no more than 169 hours 15 minutes (7.05 days) to cover the distance from Cape Dezhnev to Dudinka (some 4,150 km), which means that Monchegorsk set a new record for such a late-in-the-year sailing. The vessel’s average speed during this passage was 24.5 km/h (13.23 knots). Total length of the round trip Dudinka-Providence Bay-Busang-Shanghai-Nakhodka-Dudinka was 20,965 km, total duration 58 days, total steaming time 41 days, average speed 21.3 km/h (11.5 knots).
Presently the company owns five ARC-7 ice-class vessels of Norilsk Nickel type for arctic transport. A sixth vessel will be introduced in 2011. The vessels are built in accordance with latest environmental and technological safety requirements. The modern technology of double action enables Norilsk Nickel’s diesel electric vessels of to navigate independently through Arctic ice without ice-breaker support.