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PUBLISHER: The Load Star (

This month it was revealed that transit traffic on the Northern Sea Route (NSR) – the trans-Arctic shipping lane that runs from Norway’s northernmost reaches to Russia’s Pacific coast and Asia – had increased 66% from January to November, year on year.

However, 15 icebound vessels had to be rescued this week by nuclear icebreaker Vaigach and its diesel-fuelled sister Novorossiysk, after an unseasonably early freeze.

It trapped the multinational group of bulk carriers and general cargo vessels and threw into sharp relief the unpredictability of the fledgling shipping channel.

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