Thursday, 15 February 2018

Gas tanker crosses Arctic - IN WINTER!

Gas Tanker Crosses Arctic In Winter Without Icebreaker Escort For The First Time

In what amounts to something of a troubling metaphor, a tanker carrying liquefied natural gas (LNG) has made history: it’s now the first commercial ship to traverse the Arctic’s northern sea route in winter.

As reported by Climate Home News, the Eduard Toll left its port in South Korea in December for another port in northern Russia, before completing its journey to Montoir, France. Although it cut through plenty of rather thick ice on its route, it didn’t need any assistance from an icebreaker vessel. Its route was filmed via the crew, which you can watch below, in a rather stunning time-lapse video.

Back in August 2017, another LNG tanker achieved the same feat in the summer, once again without an icebreaker escort. Clearly, it’s now possible in even harsher winter conditions.

As it so happens, Arctic sea ice is, without a doubt both thinning and shrinking over time.

Each year, the Arctic’s sea ice normally reaches a maximum extent between February and April each year. According to the NASA-supported National Snow and Ice Data Center, since satellites started continuously measuring sea ice in 1979, its maximum extent has dropped by roughly 2.8 percent per decade.

Our warming atmosphere, and subsequently our warming oceans, is causing the southern edges of the ice to retreat. We’re going to keep seeing smaller wintertime maximums as a result, and in fact, since 1979, a winter sea ice cover more than equal to twice the size of Texas has been lost.

Once again, this January, the Arctic sea ice extent reached a new nadir. There’s a clear link to anthropogenic climate change here; although regional weather variations can cause minor variations in winter sea ice extents, the overall trend is clearly one of a cryospheric retreat.

View image on Twitter
Global sea ice has made a new record low.

There's likely never been this little sea ice on the planet since human civilization began.
That means that this tanker certainly won’t be the last of its kind to make it through the Arctic Ocean in the height of winter with relative ease. In fact, just recently, Beijing released a white paper that plotted out a “Polar Silk Road”, which called for greater focus and international cooperation on shipping routes through the Arctic as the ice fades from view.

Although it doesn’t border the Arctic, the white paper – as reported by the Financial Times – noted that “as a result of global warming, the Arctic shipping routes are likely to become important transport routes for international trade.” China, of course, wants in.

Although the government emphasized that environmental protection of the region was a priority, they did seem keen to explore and utilize any resources that may lay buried beneath the waves. These resources include, most probably, oil and gas reserves.


  1. Feb 13, 2018: This morning the judge dismissed all charges in the lawsuit brought against Tim by BC Green Party leader Andrew Weaver. It is a great victory for free speech.
    ‘The Deliberate Corruption of Climate Science’.
    My website is
    “Human Caused Global Warming”, 'The Biggest Deception in History’.

  2. A lot of us believe that methane will be the final nail in our coffin. Here it comes in the middle of the winter. One point I'd like to make is that the big, heavy tankers when off shore burn bunker fuel. I've seen them mid ocean with miles of black soot clouds above and behind them. This soot will settle on the ice lowering the albedo. The exhaust heat from these ships will be predominantly discharged into the sea. The wave action from this traffic will break up the thin fragile ice. There's three feedback loops already. Have I missed any?