Climate change and the associated warming of the Arctic seas has opened up the Northern Sea Route as a possible alternative to more southerly trading routes between Europe and Asia Pacific, but it presents unique challenges to any ship using it.
The information paper, which will be released today (7 December), highlights the challenges and best practices that ship managers and Masters should consider when planning and executing a transit of the Northern Sea Route, so that they can make an informed decision about the transit.
Oil Companies International Marine Forum (OCIMF) Director Andrew Cassels said, “The Northern Sea Route is a relatively new passage in an environmentally sensitive area for merchant ships trading between Europe and Asia Pacific. The passage is well-regulated and can be safely executed as long as companies and Masters recognise the uniqueness of the area."
Andrew added: "Severely cold weather and the risk of sea-ice and delays need to be factored into the passage planning along with the potential interference to navigational and communications equipment. With the right ship and a well-planned passage, the Northern Sea Route can be navigated safely”.
The Oil Companies International Marine Forum (OCIMF) is a voluntary association of oil companies (the ‘members’) who have an interest in the shipment and terminalling of crude oil, oil products, petrochemicals and gas.
OCIMF’s mission is to be the foremost authority on the safe and environmentally responsible operation of oil tankers, terminals and offshore support vessels, promoting continuous improvement in standards of design and operation.