Unique Winter transit of Northern Sea Route: SCF tanker Shturman Ovtsyn

Arctic Shipping — By on January 11, 2017 at 7:58 PM
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Russian ships complete a unique transit along the Northern Sea Route

11 January 2017 Key points about the voyage undertaken by Sovcomflot’s tanker Shturman Ovtsyn escorted by icebreaker 50 Let Pobedy.

– Sovcomflot’s Arctic shuttle tanker Shturman Ovtsyn took part in a unique transit voyage along the Northern Sea Route within a convoy of ships escorted by the Atomflot’s icebreaker 50 Let Pobedy. The ships transited the Northern Sea Route westwards in late December 2016 – early January 2017. The convoy was unique in the history of Arctic navigation in that such a voyage had never previously been undertaken in late December.

–  Besides Shturman Ovtsyn, the convoy was escorted by the nuclear-powered icebreaker 50 Let Pobedy and included two other motor vessels, Audax and Arctic-1.

– The voyage undertaken by Shturman Ovtsyn as part of the convoy commenced in the Bering Strait on 21 December 2016 and was successfully completed in the Gulf of Ob in the Kara Sea on 3 January 2017. As part of the convoy, Shturman Ovtsyn covered some 2,400 nautical miles. Then the tanker proceeded unaccompanied to Cape Kamenny in the Gulf of Ob for loading.

– The convoy’s voyage through the Northern Sea Route took place in the thick of the polar night and under complex ice conditions. In particular, in the East Siberian Sea, the convoy had to sail through heavy-to-break first-year ice (breccia) with multi-year ice inclusions, ridging up to 4 points and a maximum 3 points under compression.

– Thanks to the skill and high professionalism of the Russian seafarers, neither the polar night or the challenging ice conditions, nor the inevitable difficulties associated with a voyage in a convoy of diverse vessels could hinder the ships from completing their voyage successfully under the escort of Atomflot’s icebreaker. Russian shipping companies have accumulated a unique experience of operating in the Arctic and sub-Arctic seas. The availability of such competencies, qualified shipboard personnel and a system of special training, for crews to work in the difficult conditions of the northern seas, is the cornerstone of a reliable transport component serving oil and gas projects in the Arctic region.

About Sovcomflot’s tanker Shturman Ovtsyn:

Shturman Ovtsyn is one of the Arctic shuttle tankers in a series ordered by Sovcomflot under a long-term contract with Gazprom Neft and designed to carry crude oil from the Yamal Peninsular (YNAD) to the port of Murmansk all year round. The vessels are registered under the Russian flag and have Saint Petersburg as their home port.

The tankers each have a deadweight of approximately 42,000 tonnes (Shturman Ovtsyn: 41,551 tonnes), a length of 249 m and a breadth of 34 m. The Russian Maritime Register of Shipping (RS) assigned the vessels an ice class Arc7. Tanker Shturman Albanov joined the SCF fleet on 16 August 2016, with Shturman Malygin added to the fleet on 7 October and Shturman Ovtsyn put into service on 8 December 2016. All three tankers are currently used to deliver crude oil from the Arctic Gate terminal (Cape Kamenny) to Murmansk.

All three vessels have unique technical characteristics. They are capable of operating in the Arctic seas all year round at temperatures down to -45°C. The draft of the vessels enables them to manoeuvre freely in the Gulf of Ob. Their propulsion systems, consisting of two Azipod thrusters with a total capacity of 22 MW, provides a high ice-breaking capability and manoeuvrability in sailing through ice drifts and heavy ice fields, including astern operation under complex ice conditions, enabled by the Double Acting Tanker (DAT) design. From a technical point of view, the vessels of the series meet the highest standards of navigation safety, which is the cornerstone of SCF Group’s operations.

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