Venta Maersk has called at the port of St Petersburg, Russia, after successfully completing a trial passage of the Northern Sea Route
Venta Maersk has called at the port of Saint Petersburg, Russia, after successfully completing a trial passage of the Northern Sea Route.
Venta Maersk, one of Maersk Line’s new Baltic feeders, embarked on its voyage on 22 August 2018 in the port of Vladivostok, Russia. The route included further stops in Vostochny Stevedoring Company and Busan, before passing through Bering Strait on 6 September 2018 on its way to Bremerhaven. On 28 September, it called at the port of St Petersburg, Russia.
“We are very happy to welcome back crew and vessel safe and sound after this unique voyage,” says Maersk chief technical officer Palle Laursen.
“The trial allowed us to gain exceptional operational experience, test vessel systems, crew capabilities and the functionality of the shore-based support set up.”
Maersk said the voyage went according to plan and without incident. The vessel and all systems aboard performed well in the unfamiliar environment. While the passage is feasible around this time of the year and marked by a lack of obstructive ice, ice conditions in the East Siberian Sea required assistance by icebreakers.
Maersk had taken precautionary measures to ensure the trial was done with the “highest considerations” for the safety of crew, cargo, environment, and vessel. During the trial, Maersk was in regular dialogue with the Northern Sea Route Administration and ice breaker companies. The crew underwent special training and was joined by Northern Sea Route-certified ice pilots during the entire transit.
Maersk underlines that this was a one-off trial designed to gain operational experience in a new area and to test vessel systems.
“Currently, we do not see the Northern Sea Route as a viable commercial alternative to existing east-west routes. In general, we plan new services according to trading patterns, population centres and our customers’ demand,” Mr Laursen said.
“That said, we do follow the development of the Northern Sea Route. Today, the passage is only feasible for around three months a year which may change with time. Furthermore, we also must consider that ice-classed vessels are required to make the passage, which means an additional investment.”
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