The barque Sedov is the first sailing vessel to sail through the Northern Sea Route in 150 years.
Specifically, the Master of Sedov, Capt. Mikhail Novikov, stated that the vessel encountered virtually no ice over the course of the voyage along Russia’s Arctic coastline – a reflection of the unusually warm Arctic summer this year.
The vessel is the training ship of the Baltic State Academy in Kaliningrad, and one of the largest training sailing vessels in the world.
In July, the the head of Russia’s Federal Agency for Fisheries, Ilya Shestakov, announced that the Sedov would complete the Asia-to-Europe segment of her voyage by traveling westwards on the Northern Sea Route.
The Captain commented to the Russian outlet Neft
We expected, at least, fine ice in the Vilkitsky Strait and Long Strait. But we passed almost all parts of the Northern Sea Route in open water – nowhere did we come across broken ice or icebergs.
Sedov began its journey from Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky and arrived at the port of Pevek – Russia’s northernmost town – on September 18 in order to take on fuel.
Given the warm temperature currently in the Arctic, the air temperature had not yet dropped below zero, and ice had not yet been seen on the route. Also, the dangerous Vilkitsky Strait was also ice-free. Though the ship motored for most of the voyage, she managed to cross the Chukchi Sea, part of the Laptev Sea and part of the East Siberian Sea under sail alone, an unexpected possibility.