22-07-2011

Epic voyage marks two firsts for Transpetrol

Perseverance, under the command of Captain Pietka, and with Chief Engineer Bartkowiak looking after machinery, is currently en route from Vitino, Russia, to Zhoushan, China, via the Northern Sea Route (NSR). Vincent Taymans from our Brussels office is also on board, as a special envoy.

This is the first time that a ship in the Transpetrol fleet has undertaken this voyage. On charter to the shipping arm of NOVATEK, Russia’s second-largest natural gas producer, Perseverance is also reported to be the first tanker to follow the NSR this season. Even though the ice floes diminish during the summer months, transit is made possible only with the expert assistance of the Rosatomflot icebreakers Yamal and Taymyr. With Yamal in the lead, Taymyr and Perseverance follow closely behind to prevent the freshly made channel from closing up again. Continuous communication between the ships is therefore essential.

Like any voyage, this one required preparation. However, the Arctic route will probably never be considered a ‘milk run’, and embarking on it is more like an expedition. Passing through mostly remote areas, the ‘caravan’ must be self-reliant in dealing with any mishap that might occur during the voyage. The icebreakers thus also serve as emergency response vessels with an onboard hospital, pollution response equipment, towing capabilities and specialized communications equipment.

We are pleased to report that Perseverance successfully reached open water on 14 July and, having waved off her trusty companions Yamal and Taymyr, she is currently proceeding to warmer climes. Whether another NSR trip is on the cards remains to be seen. What we do know is that this journey has been fascinating for everyone involved, and we would like to say a special thank-you to our Russian counterparts for their strong support on all fronts, making the adventure a positive experience and a memory to treasure.

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“Committed to perform”
Transpetrol is an independent, fully integrated, ship-owning company with a history stretching back over 30 years. We have a truly international workforce of about 30 employees on shore in four different countries and about 500 seafarers and customarily 15 vessels serving clients around the globe.
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