South Korea fuels Finnish aviation via Arctic route

Stena Bulk is one of the shipping companies sailing the Northern Sea Route with jet-fuel to Finland. Image-illustration from

All non-Russian transits of oil-products along the Northern Sea Route so far this season are jet-fuel from Yeosu refinery in Asia to Porvoo port east of Helsinki.


“MT Stena Poseidon” was the first oil-tanker this season to sail the Northern Sea Route without visiting a Russian port. She sailed with jet-fuel from Yeosu in South Korea and crossed the Arctic route in late July.

The shipping company Stena Bulk has long experience in navigating Arctic seaways. The company has both been sailing the meter-thick ice covered waters along the Canadian Arctic coast as well as in severe ice conditions in the Baltic Sea.

In September, two other oil tankers sailed from South Korea to Finland via the Northern Sea Route. The vessels “Marika” and “Palva” were each carrying between 60 -70,000 tons of jet-fuel. In total, the three tankers have transported 129,000 tons of jet-fuel to Finland this season. The overview is made available to BarentsObserver by the Norwegian Coastal Administration’s Vessel Traffic Service.

Porvoo is Finland’s largest port in terms of volume of cargo. Around 20 million tons of crude oil and petroleum products pass through the harbor annually.

In addition to the three tankers sailing to Finland, another 16 voyages with petroleum products have sailed the Northern Sea Route, all with a Russian port as departure or destination.

An overview made by Rosatomflot shows that a total of 742,049 tons of oil products are transported along the Northern Sea Route so far in 2012. That is 522,263 tons from the west and 229,786 from the east. The overview is given to BarentsObserver by the Centre for High North Logistics, an international knowledge hub on Arctic transport and logistics for businesses.

The petroleum cargo is products like diesel-fuel, jet-fuel, gas condensate, fuels and lubricants. 

2012 will be the longest sailing season ever along the Northern Sea Route due to early melting season and thinner sea ice last winter. The sailing season is expected to last until November before the ice-conditions again will become too hard for sailing.

Sailing from Europe to Asia along the top of Russia’s Arctic coast takes only two thirds of the time it takes to go through the Suez Canal.