Three Beluga vessels, Fraternity, Foresight and Family are now in transit or in port along Russia’s Arctic-facing northern shore, the fabled Northeast Passage. Due to global warming, the passage is now nearly ice free for a few short weeks in the summer. Two of these three Beluga vessels will be the first non-Russian commercial vessels to transit the entire passage.
The three ice-class 12,744 deadweight-ton ships are carrying Russian ice pilots to assist the ships’ masters and relying on data from the Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute in St. Petersburg and ice reports from the University of Bremen, which is the city where Beluga Shipping is headquartered.
The Fraternity and the Foresight entered the passage’s eastern end at Vladivostock and will continue the entire length of the northeast passage to Europe after they discharge project cargo at the Siberian port of Novvy. The Beluga Family entered the passage at Murmansk, at the western end, and is currently at Yamburg, near Novvy Port, already discharging. The Family will turn around, return to Murmansk and go on to Rotterdam.
All three vessels are carrying power plant equipment that will be barged to the Siberian city of Surgut from Novvy and Yamburg.