A Russian icebreaker set a world speed record completing its trip successfully one month after the end of usual shipping season in the Arctic.
A Russian icebreaker just completed the fastest transit of the Northern Sea Route. The Vaygach, a nuclear-powered icebreaker, took just 7.5 days to complete the trip. This record breaking voyage started from the Siberian side of the Bering Strait on Dec. 17, covering more than 2,200 nautical miles before reaching its destination in the White Sea on Dec. 25. Along with setting the speed record, the icebreaker also completed the trip more than a month after the shipping season usually ends in the Arctic. The number of vessels that traveled the full length of the route dropped from more than 70 in 2013 to fewer than 20 in 2015. The amount of cargo transported dropped even more dramatically: by about 97 percent in just two years.
Researchers say that the changing ice conditions in the Arctic and the unusually thin layer of ice has made this trip successful.