ABS Advisory Promotes Safe Shipping in Arctic Waters

by | Jan 31, 2014

Global maritime classification services organization ABS has published an advisory to help shipowners navigate in Arctic waters safely and efficiently, while also minimizing their environmental impact.

Commercial shipping routes through the Arctic seas are becoming increasingly popular as melting ice floes in the Northern Sea Route (NSR) have opened transit opportunities there, ABS says.

ABS’ Navigating the Northern Sea Route Advisory, developed with assistance from Russia’s Central Marine Research and Design Institute, aims to provides owners with the information they need to apply for permits and to identify the possible technical and operational risks that could arise when trading in some of the world’s most challenging commercial shipping environments.

The advisory includes:

  • The Northern Sea Route
  • The Arctic environment
  • NSR Regulations
  • Winterization strategies
  • The practice of navigating in ice-covered waters
  • Ports of the NSR

Trading through the NSR has the potential to reduce the typical transit times between Japan and Rotterdam by as much as 3,400 miles, or 10 days, compared to the traditional route via the Suez Canal, ABS says. This reduction brings with it gains in overall vessel utilization and reductions in bunker costs. The NSR also will provide access to the growing energy and industrial activity in northern Russia, projects that already have led to greater tanker traffic in the area and provided the impetus for several recent orders of ice-class liquefied natural gas (LNG) carriers for future export trades.

A position paper published this week by DNV GL says while LNG will be an early success, the future alternative fuel mix for global shipping becomes more diversified with time, as more than 20 percent of shipping could adopt hybrid propulsion solutions, featuring batteries or other energy storage technologies.


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