Arctic Shipping Soars, Led by Russia and Lured by Energy

A season of shipping milestones is ending in the Arctic. Climate change has ushered in a new era of far north transit, focused on extraction of energy stores.

Never mind that Arctic sea ice rebounded 30 percent this year from its 2012 record low. (See related, "Summer Arctic Sea Ice Recovers From 2012, But Trend Is 'Decidedly' Down.") Seventy-one ships completed "transits," or complete journeys between the Barents Sea and the Bering Strait, up more than 50 percent from last year, according to Rosatomflot, Russia's state-operated nuclear-powered icebreaker fleet, which provides mandatory escort—for a fee. As recently as 2010, only four ships made the crossing. (Voice your opinion, "Arctic Development: What Do We Urgently Need to Know?")

This year marked the first NSR transit for a container ship, and the premier voyages for vessels commissioned by China and South Korea.

Russia conducted naval exercises on the NSR

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