The 118,000 dwt product tanker Viktor Bakaev, began its voyage in Yeosu, South Korea on 14 October. The vessel, chartered to oil trader VITOL, was loaded with a cargo of 88,000 tonnes of aviation kerosene and proceeded to transit the Northern Sea Route from east to west, with the help of FSUE Atomflot icebreakers Vaygach and Taimyr, which formed a convoy near Cape Shelasky on 16 October.
In order to make the voyage, Viktor Bakaev, already equipped to LR II and ice class 1C standards, was retrofitted with GLONASS (Global Navigation Satellite System) and provided with an additional adviser to the captain.
The news follows a record number of permit issues for Northern Sea Route transits, as well as the recent journey of the first Chinese ship – Cosco multipurpose vessel Yong Sheng - from Dalian to Rotterdam.
Viktor Bakaev’s captain Leonid Kolpakov said that the mood was “upbeat” following the voyage, “despite the harsh climatic conditions of the Arctic we encountered, with strong winds and temperatures of minus 20 degrees Celsius. We were surrounded by beautiful scenery and polar bears, and had great support from our team of experts ashore.
“It was my Northern Sea Route baptism and I’m delighted the voyage was completed safely, according to plan. The next time I’m sure it will be easier, using the experience gained from this voyage.”