Russian tanker first to pass through Arctic unaided

A Russian tanker has been the first to pass through the Arctic without the need for an icebreaker, and is a further sign of a warming world. Carrying liquefied natural gas, the Christophe de Margerie completed the journey from Norway to South Korea in record time, taking only 19 days, knocking almost a third off the time it would take to go around Europe and through the Suez Canal. And has become the first ship to cross the Northern Sea Route (NSR) without the aid of an icebreaker vessel travelling ahead. Since 1906, fewer than 500 ships have made the journey, but journeys through the route are expected become routine in the future. Although partly due to shrinking ice coverage, the vessel has also been fitted with icebreakers. However, there's no doubt that the thawing of the Arctic ice is now making the route more viable. The opening up of the NSR may be good news for shipping companies, which now have a faster route, increasing profits, but has raised concerns about the environmental impact of more ships passing through the Arctic, which could speed up the melting Arctic ice, threaten wildlife and any oils spills would be more difficult to lean up in the icy waters. To find out more check out Russian tanker sails through Arctic without icebreaker for first time.