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Shock News – Icebreaker Sails Through Ice!

February 15, 2018

By Paul Homewood



h/t Joe Public


The Guardian is up to its tricks again!


An LNG tanker designed for icy conditions has become the first commercial ship to travel the Arctic’s northern sea route in winter.

It marks a milestone in the opening up of Russia’s northern coastline, as thawing polar ice makes industrial development and maritime trade increasingly viable.

The Teekay vessel Eduard Toll set out from South Korea in December for Sabetta terminal in northern Russia, cutting through ice 1.8m thick. Last month, it completed the route, delivering a load of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Montoir, France. Its voyage was captured by the crew in a timelapse video.

Bermuda-based firm Teekay is investing in six ships to serve the Yamal LNG project in northern Russia. A similarly designed vessel owned by Sovcomflot made the same passage last August. This small and growing Arctic-ready fleet can operate independently of icebreaker escorts, which are also in high demand.


There is a very simple reason why the Eduard Toll has managed to sail through the ice without icebreaker assistance. It is an icebreaker itself, as its builders state:



We are pleased to announce that Teekay LNG Partners first icebreaker LNG newbuilding was launched on Saturday January 21. The vessel, Eduard Toll, is Teekay’s first of six 172,000 cubic meter ARC7 LNG carrier newbuildings to be constructed for the Yamal LNG project.




Meanwhile, NSIDC confirm that the coast of Siberia is full up with sea ice.


Readers may recall that the Eduardo Toll’s sister ship, the Christophe de Margerie, also sailed the Northern Route from Norway to Korea last year, and similar misleading stories appeared at the time, such as this from the BBC.

Given that there are another 14 of these vessels being built, we will no doubt hear the same alarmist nonsense every year!

  1. HotScot permalink
    February 15, 2018 7:00 pm

    Smashing ice for G&T’s.

    I mean, that’s all Arctic sea ice is good for, a bit salty though.

    • Broadlands permalink
      February 15, 2018 7:13 pm

      HT Barnes, Monthly Weather Review, November, 1912…

      “In a letter to Nature published in the issue of December 1, 1910, I showed by means of microthermograms taken on a trip to Hudsons Straits that an iceberg melting in
salt water produces a rise of temperature.”

      “In my observations of icebergs I was greatly struck with the large amount of air dissolved in the ice. The white color of the berg is due to innumerable air bubble in the ice, and not to snow on the surface. An iceberg is very deceptive in this way. While it looks quite soft, the ice is so hard as to make it difficult to chop it with an axe. Ice water which I prepared for drinking on board ship with iceberg ice appeared to effervesce like soda water…”

  2. Bloke down the pub permalink
    February 15, 2018 7:00 pm

    It would be interesting to know what impact on the resilience of ice to being blown about, is made by ice breakers chopping the ice sheet into smaller pieces.

    • February 15, 2018 9:56 pm

      Not to mention effects from all those Norwegian ice breakers

      • February 16, 2018 6:24 pm

        Wait a minute here; is that you Ron?

      • February 16, 2018 7:34 pm

        I wish Gary. I’m half-Dane so not that tough. Still, Go Vikings!

    • It doesn't add up... permalink
      February 16, 2018 11:44 am

      A very valid question. The route the tankers have been taking between Sabetta and Europe sees them creep round the headland at the mouth of the Gulf of Ob and head for the narrow Kara Strait, South of New Land ( Новая Земля ) before proceeding through the Barents Sea and around Norway. The sea ice map shows less dense ice in this area, with the frequency of voyages to and fro probably sufficient to maintain an almost ice free channel. I have also observed one vessel wait just inside the Kara Sea until a returning vessel came through the Strait. They do not go North of Novaya Zemlya, as most diagrams suggesting routes from Yamal LNG suggest.

      The next Arc7 class tanker in the fleet is probably this one – the Vladimir Rusanov – due to start operations in March:

      The Eduard Toll joins the Christophe de Margerie, Boris Vilkitsky and Fedor Litke, which are already operational. Most of the discharges have been at Montoir, but they have also visited Grain, Milford Haven, Rotterdam, and Dunkirk. Their voyages can be followed at various AIS satellite ship tracking sites.

  3. February 15, 2018 7:08 pm

    Here’s interesting back-story State-side:

    One has to wonder if the “save-the-earth” types have any self-awareness at all…

    • February 16, 2018 1:24 pm

      When New England had their recent almost 2-week deep freeze I saw the articles posted here. I live in northern West Virginia and we are awash in natural gas as well as coal. New York State is also endowed with natural gas–the Utica Shale formation is named for Utica, NY and we have it in WV. Now that the EPA has a sensible director in Scott Pruitt and we have a sensible President in Donald Trump, at least 2 pipelines are being constructed. One will go south into North Carolina and another east to Norfolk, VA area. None headed north.

      I belong to a conservative group which meets for lunch each week in a nearby town for the purpose of hearing from a lot of people in industry, state agencies, and political leaders (Congressman David McKInley has spoken several times). AG Patrick Morrisey who successfully sued EPA over various matters, has been with us a number of times. We are informed about what is happening in order to be the ones people go to when wanting the real story on things the media shirks or misleads.

      Two weeks ago our speaker, from GE, talked about the new pipelines and how they differ from the old ones. He has been one of the innovators in some of the techniques which avoid the corrosion which plagued earlier ones. It was fascinating to hear him talk about sending various things through a pipeline with water between them to form a barrier. This way, various gases can be “stacked” and sent through with the water taken off at the end and the next gas loaded.

    • February 16, 2018 7:47 pm

      The uber-liberals in New York and Boston are blocking energy access and risking winter shortages, all the time assuming the future will be warmer.

      “In his State of American Energy keynote address, API President and CEO Jack Gerard highlighted how resistance to infrastructure development has left New Englanders with some of the highest electricity costs in the nation, particularly so through extreme winters.

      In December and early January, New England’s wholesale electricity prices averaged nearly three times those of equally-frigid Chicago. Over the past four years, New England’s wholesale electricity prices averaged 24 percent higher than those in Chicago and were nearly three times more volatile.”

  4. February 15, 2018 7:19 pm

    This good news. Why isn’t Harrabin rejoicing on the BBC? I suspect it’s because he’s too worried about plastic.

  5. John Scott permalink
    February 15, 2018 7:28 pm

    There is nothing new about ice breaking LNG tankers. In the early 1980’s such vessel were designed to deliver Beaufort Sea LNG to the east-coast of Canada unfortunately the project was cancelled due to the un-competitive price of gas at that time. There were great advances in icebreaker technology at that time, mainly to hull form, departing from tradition, sleek hull coatings, water lubrication, propulsion systems with controllable pitch propellers, steel metallurgy, and satellite ice reconnaissance to name a few. Notwithstanding any vessels capability ice navigation is at the mercy of weather particularly wind affecting ice and under certain condition rafted ice can present an impenetrable barrier which only weather can disperse.

    • FundMe permalink
      February 16, 2018 12:13 am

      More than anything, Hull Coatings allowed the profitable movement of ships through the ice.

      • FundMe permalink
        February 16, 2018 12:14 am

        Slip Sliding Away

  6. dennisambler permalink
    February 15, 2018 7:35 pm

    “The Northeast Passage runs along the Arctic coast of Russia between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, and is considered to be under Russian ownership.

    The Russians have been using the route for decades, with the help of icebreaker ships. It has until recently been closed to foreign ships, but now the Russians want to open it up and are hoping that it will eventually compete with the Suez Canal as one of the most popular shipping routes.

    This is mainly for economic reasons; they can charge companies to use the route and for the Russian icebreakers that are required to navigate it.”

    Yamal of course, is the location for the famous “Briffa pine”.

  7. February 15, 2018 8:02 pm

    The Grauniad trying to pull the wool over its readers’ eyes re climate? No change there sadly.

    • Gerry, England permalink
      February 17, 2018 1:25 pm

      They don’t read the Guardian to be informed anyway so not really a problem. And hardly anyone apart from the BBC reads the Guardian at all. Can’t wait for the trust fund money to run out but then the BBC will probably buy them to keep its house newspaper going.

  8. February 15, 2018 8:04 pm

    “Icebreaker Sails . .”

    That’s funny – I don’t see any sails.

  9. Ian permalink
    February 15, 2018 10:32 pm

    Spot the irony – celebrating the delivery (and more to come) of deadly carbon. #You_Couldn’t_Make_It_Up!

    • duker permalink
      February 16, 2018 1:29 am

      Good point. Put it in a pipeline though, and they will ‘mann’ the barricades

  10. Athelstan permalink
    February 16, 2018 9:14 am

    Looks like something’s going on in the north Atlantic too.

    Mind you, they’re swarm tremors and common up there but this is rather increased volume activity, we shall see.

  11. dave permalink
    February 16, 2018 9:30 am


    I notice that, recently, we have been importing about 8% of our electric power from France and the Netherlands; there is one-way traffic through the Inter-connectors. What happens if the links fail, or if these countries decide, one day, they need the power for themselves?

    Just wondering.

    • Joe Public permalink
      February 16, 2018 1:00 pm

      November last year, we were net-exporters over the month:

      “Net interconnector flow into and out of Great Britain averaged -83MW per half hour settlement period – in other words, net export of 83MW – in November. This was the first month of net export since February 2012.”

    • It doesn't add up... permalink
      February 16, 2018 1:17 pm

      If you scroll down to the bottom right here:

      you will see we have already been supplying the French at the 2GW maximum capacity of the Interconnector while they shut down a number of their nuclear reactors for “maintenance and inspection”, but of course it was not during winter peak demand. I would be much more concerned by the French plans to close down nuclear reactors and replace them with wind, while we expand the interconnection to some 8.8GW. If there is a general shortage of power on the continent, there could be a massive bidding war as to who gets the blackout – and if we lose, we could have to supply them with 8.8GW out of our remaining generation capacity, which itself would likely be way below our demand if we come to rely on interconnectors instead of reliable plant on British soil. If we win, then we would be paying the highest price in Europe to shuffle off the blackout elsewhere.

      • dave permalink
        February 16, 2018 3:14 pm

        I stand to be corrected, but surely the U.K. is IMPORTING electrical power at this time?

        The French Grid shows the inter-connector as a minus (‘drain?’) and the British Grid shows it as a plus (‘top-up?’)

        Certainly. the U.K. has mostly imported power – historically – from France and the Netherlands.

        Was it not 2016 when several of the French nuclear reactors were temporarily off-line?

      • dave permalink
        February 16, 2018 3:38 pm

        I have had a really good look at the Grid Watch page (which did not do my eyes any good!). We did supply the French, late LAST YEAR, but they are supplying us NOW.

  12. February 16, 2018 12:55 pm

    Here is a chance for them to really shine. Break up the ice so the seals have air-holes for breathing. Then the polar bears can eat them and avoid the starvation we hear about due to thicker ice. Problem solved–unless you are a seal.

    • dave permalink
      February 16, 2018 4:11 pm

      “…unless you are a seal…”

      But then seals often eat 5% of their body-weight in fish each day, so every seal in a polar bear’s tummy is good news for fish – which is bad news for plankton – which is…

      It is so difficult deciding where one’s neo-Marxist sympathies must lie, when emoting over nature!

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