From: Reuters
Published September 12, 2009 11:16 AM

German ships successfully make "Arctic Passage"

Two German cargo ships have successfully navigated across Russia's Arctic-facing northern shore from South Korea to Siberia without the help of icebreakers, the shipping company said.

The two merchant ships belonging to Beluga Shipping Gmbh were able to make the cost-saving voyage by the fabled Northeast Passage because of the reduction in the polar ice cap due to global warming, the company said.


"We are all very proud and delighted to be the first Western shipping company which has successfully transited the legendary Northeast Passage and delivered the sensitive cargo safely through this extraordinarily demanding sea area," Niels Stolberg, president and CEO of Beluga, said in a statement on the company's website.

The ships are carrying a cargo of "heavy plant modules," said the company statement, dated Sept 9.

The "Beluga Fraternity" and "Beluga Foresight" left the Russian port of Vladivostok with cargo picked up in July in South Korea, bound for Holland.

They dropped anchor at the Siberian port of Yamburg on Monday, Beluga said.

The Northern Sea Route trims 4,000 nautical miles off the usual 11,000-mile journey via the Suez Canal, which Beluga has said would yield substantial savings in fuel costs and reductions in CO2 emissions.

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