The following is text of a news release from Maersk Line:
(COPENHAGEN, Denmark) — On Friday, Venta Maersk called on the port of St. Petersburg, Russia, successfully completing a trial passage of the Northern Sea Route. Venta Maersk, one of Maersk Line’s new Baltic feeders, embarked on its voyage on Aug. 22 in the port of Vladivostok, Russia. The route included further stops at Vostochny Stevedoring Co. and Busan, before passing through Bering Strait on Sept. 6 on its way to Bremerhaven.
“We are very happy to welcome back crew and vessel safe and sound after this unique voyage,” said Palle Laursen, chief technical officer at Maersk. “The trial allowed us to gain exceptional operational experience, test vessel systems, crew capabilities and the functionality of the shore-based support setup.”
The voyage went according to plan and without specific incidents. The vessel and all systems aboard performed well in the unfamiliar environment. While the passage is feasible around this time of the year and marked by a lack of obstructive ice, ice conditions in the East Siberian Sea required assistance by icebreakers.
Maersk had taken different precautionary measures to ensure that the trial was done with the highest considerations for the safety of crew, cargo, environment, and vessel. During the trial, Maersk has been in close and regular dialogue with the Northern Sea Route Administration and icebreaker companies. The crew underwent special training and was joined by Northern Sea Route certified ice pilots during the entire transit.
Maersk underlines that this was a one-off trial designed to gain operational experience in a new area and to test vessel systems.
“Currently, we do not see the Northern Sea Route as a viable commercial alternative to existing east-west routes. In general, we plan new services according to trading patterns, population centers and our customers demand,” said Laursen. “That said, we do follow the development of the Northern Sea Route. Today, the passage is only feasible for around three months a year, which may change with time. Furthermore, we also must consider that ice-classed vessels are required to make the passage, which means an additional investment.”
On Venta Maersk
• Maersk Line’s new Baltic feeders are among the world’s largest ice-class vessels designed specifically to operate in cold waters (down to -25 degrees C), where ice class (stronger hull) is required to offer year-round operations. They have a nominal capacity of 3,596 TEU and are equipped with 600 reefer plugs.
• Venta Maersk is the fourth of seven sister vessels and was delivered on July 11, 2018.
• Its already delivered sister ships are deployed in the Sealand Baltic feeder network serving Russia and calling St. Petersburg. They have sheltered forecastle deck for safe mooring operations in winter conditions and enclosed bridge wings for safe maneuvering and harbor approach. Their propeller and rudder design has been optimized for lowest fuel consumption.
• In addition, the vessels use marine fuel which is fully compliant with the Emission Control Area (ECA) rules, established by the International Maritime Organization (IMO).
• On its voyage from Busan to Bremerhaven, Venta Maersk carried 660 reefer containers.