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Russia launches new nuclear icebreaker to leverage Arctic potential

Russia deployed a nuclear-powered icebreaker on May 25, under its program to expand its fleet of the ships. This move aims to improve its ability to leverage the Arctic’s commercial possibilities. Now, the ship ‘Ural’ is one of three vessels that when completed will be the largest and most powerful icebreakers globally.

Hamburg Süd christens polar class ship in Antwerp

Hamburg Süd announced that it christened the ‘Polar Ecuador’ container ship in Antwerp. The ship belongs to a group of four structurally identical vessels in the ‘Polar’ class that have been built for Hamburg Süd by the Chinese shipyard Jiangsu New Yangzi Shipbuilding. The ‘Polar Ecuador’ will operate in Hamburg Süd’s North Europe – Mexico/Caribbean service (EMCS), which connects Antwerp and other European ports in Ireland, Great Britain and Germany with Mexican and Caribbean ports. 

IAATO votes new measures to protect whales

On May 3 the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO) voted measures into effect in order to reduce the incidence of tourist ships striking whales around the Antarctic Peninsula. These measures will apply from July 1, before the start of the 2019-20 Antarctic travel season, which starts in October.

24% of West Antarctic ice unstable, according to study

In a new study, the UK Centre for Polar Observation and Modelling informed that it has tracked changes in snow and ice cover across the Antarctic. Namely, the continent’s ice sheet has thinned by up to 122 metres in places. Lead author and CPOM Director Professor Andy Shepherd, said that ice losses from East and West Antarctica have contributed 4.6 mm to global sea level rise since 1992.

COSCO plans several Arctic shipments for 2019

COSCO confirmed its plans to increase transit shipments on the Northern Sea Route. The shipping giant aspires to operate in the Polar Silk Road and serve international trade between the North Atlantic region and the far east. Explaining why COSCO chose the Northern Sea Route, Chen Feng, General Director of COSCO Marketing and Sales, said that this route is smooth and fast.

Electric catamarans introduced for Polar water exploration

Hurtigruten launched silent, electric-powered and emission-free catamarans. The company has collaborated with Norwegian startup Brim Explorer, in order to introduced the battery powered catamarans, which are custom built for Polar water exploration. Starting operations in the spring of 2020, the 24-meter vessel will operate in daily ocean excursions from Longyearbyen on the Arctic island of Svalbard.

Clean Arctic Alliance calls for reducing shipping black carbon impacts on Arctic

The Clean Arctic Alliance urged the IMO Member States to reduce the impact of black carbon emissions from international shipping on the Arctic environment, as the UN body gathers in London for a meeting of its MEPC74. During the meeting, a number of issues, including black carbon emissions and heavy fuel oil in the Arctic will feature on the agenda.

Pros and cons of seasonal tourism in Arctic

The Secretary of the Nordic Council of Ministers and Nordic Council of Ministers published a report focusing on four main perspectives on the issues of seasonal tourism in the Arctic: local community perspectives; employment and workforce issues; the Arctification of northern tourism; and global environmental change.

Railway between Finland and Norway to link Arctic shipping routes

A Finnish company plans to establish a railway to connect north Finland and Norway’s Kirkenes port. This aims to link potential Arctic shipping routes, while the cost of this project is estimated to be between 3-5 billion euros. The Port of Kirkenes is located above the Arctic Circle, 350 km from the northernmost parts of Finland’s railway network. The line of the railway could begin at Kemijarvi or Kolari in Finland.

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