SCF Baltica Arrives in Pevek

The first stage of the Arctic voyage is over

On 25 August 2010, Sovcomflot’s Aframax tanker SCF Baltica arrived at the port of Pevek in Northern Russia. This marked the end of the most challenging part of her voyage, from a navigational standpoint, from Murmansk to China. With an escort of nuclear-powered ice-breakers, the ship covered the 2,500 nautical miles between Murmansk and Pevek in 11 days. The vessel’s route took her through the Barents Sea (North of Cape Zhelaniya on Novaya Zemlya Island); the Vilkitsky Strait, which ended in the Taimyr ice field, then through the Sannikov Strait, the Laptev Sea and ice fields of the East-Siberian Sea.

The tanker and her cargo of 70,000 tonnes of gas condensate (owned by OAO NOVATEK) completed this stage of her voyage ahead of schedule. This underlines the real scope to reduce transit times for cargoes along the Northern Sea Route. The voyage also confirms the economic potential of the Northern Sea Route, for delivering hydrocarbons to the countries of Asia-Pacific Region.

Sergey Frank, Sovcomflot President and CEO, said: “The Arctic voyage of the tanker SCF Baltica has confirmed the possibility of operating large ice-class tankers along the NSR. Statistics collected during the voyage will form the foundation of a unique data base, which will allow the preparation of similar voyages for large vessels in future. Sovcomflot is planning to send a Suezmax vessel of at least Ice Class 1A Super along the NSR, enabling it to pass through the fields 100 per cent covered with ice along the way.”

The voyage was undertaken in cooperation with the Ministry of Transport of the Russian Federation and the State Corporation Rosatom. Close contact was also maintained with Russia’s Maritime Operations Headquarters, from where the weather and ice conditions were monitored and operation of the ice-breaker escorts (from FGUP Atomflot) was coordinated.

Evgeny Ambrosov, Sovcomflot Senior Executive Vice-President, underlined that the voyage was preceded by thorough preparatory work, including risk assessment and management. The required actions of crews and shore units in potential emergency situations were assessed; contingency plans were developed, including oil spill containment procedures and the use of reserve repair bases for potential hull damage caused by ice. The crew of SCF Baltica received additional training to ensure good cooperation with the crews of the escort ice-breakers. Previous Arctic ice navigation experience allowed the captain and his crew to fulfil the task successfully and to cover the route safely and ahead of schedule.

Sovcomflot management wishes to express its sincere gratitude to all the participants in the Arctic voyage project for their cooperation and mutual assistance.

SCF Baltica is expected to arrive at her discharge port – Ningbo (China) in the People’s Republic of China - in the first half of September 2010.

SCF Baltica– an Aframax tanker of 114,564 tonnes (dwt), ice class – 1A Super (Arc).

Northern Sea Route – the shortest sea lane between the European part of Russia and Russia’s Far East, historically it formed a national transport communication system in the Arctic.

OAO Novatek – the major independent and the second largest (by production volume) natural gas producer of Russia. Established in 1994, the company is engaged in the prospecting, producing and processing of gas and liquid hydrocarbons. The company’s fields and licenses are in the Yamal-Nenetsk Autonomous Region – the world’s biggest region for natural gas production, which contains about 90 per cent of Russia’s natural gas production and approximately 20 per cent of the world’s natural gas production.

Rosatom (Russia’s Nuclear Energy Corporation) unites more than 250 scientific enterprises and organizations, including: all Russia’s civil nuclear companies; enterprises of the nuclear weapons complex; scientific-research institutes and a unique nuclear-powered ice-breaker fleet.

SCF Group (Sovcomflot) is one of Russia’s largest infrastructure companies and has its headquarters in St. Petersburg. Its fleet comprises 147 vessels of more than 10.5 million tonnes (dwt) in total. Its current shipbuilding portfolio includes nine ships of an aggregate 0.8 million tonnes (dwt);

  • The company owns the largest ice-class fleet, being No.1 in the Arctic shuttle tanker and ice-class LNG carrier segments;
  • SCF Group is a world leader in the product carrier segment; it is the second largest in the Aframax and fourth largest in the Suezmax segments;
  • The Group provides its customers with hydrocarbon transportation services; crude oil trans-shipment using floating oil storage vessels; services for the development of effective logistics for energy resource transportation, and specialised vessels for servicing offshore drilling and extraction platforms;
  • The average age of vessel in the tanker fleet is approximately seven years (the world average vessel age being 12 years).

      Photo courtesy of www.sovcomflot.ru