Arctic oil tankers collided

The ice-classed tankers Varzuga and Indiga.

Two Russian tankers carrying diesel-fuel collided with each-other late Friday somewhere along the North East Passage. No leakages of diesel or oil are reported.


The exact position of the tankers is not given. The collision happened on Friday evening or the night to Saturday, reports Novaya Gazeta. The tankers are belongs to Murmansk Shipping Company.

BarentsObserver reported last week that the two tankers Indiga and Varzuga recently sailed from Murmansk loaded with 13,300 tons of diesel-fuel each on their way to Chukotka in Russia’s Far East.

The tankers are sailing the partly ice-covered Northern Sea Route and are accompanied by the two nuclear powered icebreakers Rossia and Taimyr, according to the Murmansk based web-portal MBNews.

According to Novaya Gazeta, the collision happened in difficult ice conditions, exacerbated by poor visibility. It was the tanker Varzuga that crashed into the rear stern side of Indiga. The hull of Indigo was damaged, but the vessel did not lose its seaworthy.

BarentsObserver reported last week that the two tankers hold the ice-classification 1A Super with double hull.

The radio-station Echo Moskvy reports with reference to the editor of the Maritime Bulletin Mikael Voitenko that no leakages of diesel or oil are reported.

The Arctic shipping season 2010 is closely followed by the world’s shipping interests as global warming makes the sea ice retreat in record speed. By sailing the Northern Sea route, the ship-owners save both time and fuel-costs as the distance from Europe to Asia via the north is much shorter than traditionally routes through the Suez- Panama-, or around Africa to Asia.

According to the original plan, Indiga and Varzuga were scheduled to arrive in the port-town of Pevek on Chukotka in Russia’s Far East on July 27th. So far, there are no report on any delay of the scedule due to the collision this weekend.

Read alsoNo way to clean up oil spill under ice: Canadian expert

Although Varzuga and Indiga are the first tankers to sail the North East Passage this summer, they are not the only. Russia’s biggest shipping company, Sovkomflot, intends to carry out a first major oil shipment from the Varandey terminal on the coast of the Pechora Sea through the North East Passage to Japan later this summer.

Sovcomflot will send one of its purpose-built 70.000 dwt ice-classed shuttle tankers on the route. If successful, the tanker will be the first ever oil tanker to sail the entire Northern Sea Route from Northwest Russia to Asia.

Read alsoWelcome to the new Arctic