Hoping to develop the Northern Sea Route across the Arctic into an international shipping lane, Russia is building a group of icebreakers to be powered with liquefied natural gas.
Russia pushes ahead with plans to ensure year-round navigation along the Northern Sea Route. The Leader-class icebreaker also referred to as LK-120Ya, will be twice as powerful as the country’s current nuclear icebreakers.
Iceland unveiled a plaque to its Okjokull ice sheet on Sunday, the first of the country's hundreds of glaciers to melt away due to climate change. Scientists see the shrinking of glaciers as one of many warning signs that the earth's climate is lurching towards dangerous tipping points.
President Donald Trump's reported wish to buy Greenland may have been rejected by Denmark, but it underscores the rapidly rising value of the massive, ice-covered island due to global warming and to China's drive for an Arctic presence.
The first serially-produced Sibir nuclear-powered icebreaker, designed to reinforce Russia’s leadership in the Arctic, was commissioned last week at the Baltic Shipyard in St. Petersburg. It is one of the three vessels part of Project 22220 which are to become the world’s largest and most powerful nuclear icebreakers. The lead ship of the project, the Arktika, was commissioned last year.
The growth of Arctic sea ice this winter recorded the lowest maximum level on record, prompting fears of faster climate change than previously expected. Unusually warm temperatures were said to be responsible for the shrinkage.
The Birkenhead shipyard Cammell Laird said it saw off competition from Europe and beyond including Korea and Singapore to be selected as the preferred bidder to build a new vessel for the UK-funded Natural Environment Research Council (NERC). The contract was signed last week and it is expected that full production will start in June next year, and on completion the vessel will be operated by NERC’s British Antarctic Survey (BAS).
The US government has announced new curbs on oil and gas exploration in Arctic waters off Alaska's northern coast. It comes after oil giant Royal Dutch Shell last month stopped its Arctic activity citing “disappointing” tests.
President Barack Obama on Tuesday is proposing a faster timetable for buying a new heavy icebreaker for the U.S. Arctic, where quickly melting sea ice has spurred more maritime traffic, and the United States has fallen far behind Russian resources.
The U.S. Interior Department on Wednesday granted Royal Dutch Shell two final permits to explore for crude in the Arctic this summer, but said the company cannot drill into the oil zone until required emergency equipment arrives in the region.