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Nor, nor,east my hearties.

German ships blaze Arctic trail
Two German merchant ships are sailing from Asia to Europe via Russia's Arctic coast, having negotiated the once impassable North East Passage.
...the once impenetrable ice that prevented ships travelling along the northern Russian coast has been retreating rapidly because of global warming in recent decades.
The passage became passable without ice breakers in 2005.
This route is usually frozen but rising temperatures in the region caused by global warming have melted much of the ice allowing large ships to go through.

Wow! All that warming - but don't they even click on Wikipedia (let alone do some real research)

Northern Sea Route - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

in 1878 that Finland-Swedish explorer Nordenskid made the first successful attempt to completely navigate the Northeast Passage from west to east during the Vega expedition. The ship's captain on this expedition was lieutenant Louis Palander of the Swedish Royal Navy. In 1915 a Russian expedition led by Boris Vilkitsky made the passage from east to west.
One year before Nordenskid's voyage, commercial exploitation of the route started with the so-called Kara expeditions, exporting Siberian agricultural produce via the Kara Sea. Of 122 convoys between 1877 and 1919 only 75 succeeded, transporting as little as 55 tons of cargo. From 1911 steamboats ran from Vladivostok to Kolyma (the Kolyma steamboats) once a year.
Nordenskid, Nansen, Amundsen, DeLong, Makarov and others ran expeditions mainly for scientific and cartographic reasons.

After the Russian Revolution Introduction of radio, steamboats and icebreakers made running the Northern Sea Route viable. After the Russian Revolution of 1917, the Soviet Union was isolated from the western powers, which made it imperative to use this route. Besides being the shortest seaway between the West and the Far East of the USSR it was the only one which lay inside Soviet internal waters and did not impinge upon that which belonged to nearby opposing countries.
In 1932 a Soviet expedition led by Professor Otto Yulievich Schmidt was the first to sail all the way from Arkhangelsk to the Bering Strait in the same summer without wintering en route. After a couple more trial runs in 1933 and 1934, the Northern Sea Route was officially open and commercial exploitation began in 1935. Next year, part of the Baltic Fleet made the passage to the Pacific where an armed conflict with Japan was looming.
A special governing body Glavsevmorput', the Administration of the Northern Sea Route, was set up in 1932 and Otto Schmidt became its first director. It supervised navigation and built Arctic ports.
After the breakup of the Soviet Union commercial navigation in the Siberian Arctic went into decline in the 1990s. More or less regular shipping is to be found only from Murmansk to Dudinka in the west and between Vladivostok and Pevek in the east. Ports between Dudinka and Pevek see next to no shipping at all. Logashkino and Nordvik were abandoned and are now ghost towns.

So in fact it was regularly being used until the USSR broke up and chaos reigned, and now it is back working again...


The Northeast passage has never seen "regular use", only seasonal. Inter-port voyages, including transit within the Kara Sea, are not at all similar in scope or difficulty to full passage transit. These are standard commercial vessels, "voluntarily" escorted by Russia's nuclear powered ice breaker of course. Commercial exploration by specialized vessels is quite a different scenario compared to ice free commercial transit...

I read about this last week in either the British or the German Press and I had the disinct impression that the there were three vessels (two from the East one from the West), that they were Belgian owned and that the biggest obstacle was Russian burocracy.

The Northern Sea Route is not the same as the Northwest Passage. [note: the Wikipedia article about the Northwest route seems to have been edited, perhaps recently (since this article/news), to talk about AGW freeing it up]

OTOH, a couple of things about the Passage. The point to look at is that recent passage was possible without an accompanying icebreaker ship: passage with icebreakers is not uncommon, and desirable for ice of 30cm (1 foot) or more.

Also, while my search skills are not good enough to find cites, I have read that the Northwest Passage was passable without an icebreaker about twenty years ago. And that it has been so some four times in the last 120 years.

John A

"The point to look at is that recent passage was possible without an accompanying icebreaker ship ..."

Except that they did have an icebreaker, and the ships involved were specially designed to cope with ice. Ice cover at times exceeded 50% and the ships were forced to use Russian ice pilots. Oh, not forgetting that we are talking about the Northeast Passage here, over the north coast of Russia, not the Northwest Passage over the north coast of Canada.

"The point to look at is that recent passage was possible without an accompanying icebreaker ship"

Which has happened in the past, not this time. These guys had icebreakers with them in summer, in the past it has been navigated without icebreakers in autumn (albeit by ice strengthened ships, not dissimilar to the ships now needing an icebreaker to get through).
As far back as WW2 German merchant raiders sailed the NE passage to Japan and to prey on allied shipping in the Pacific and south Atlantic.
First documented navigation was in the 18th century.

As usual the warmists deliberately (or through stupidity, can't be quite ruled out) get their facts wrong.

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