Recently in OLD SALT BLOG there was a Post about a proposed voyage by Beluga Shipping GMBH of Breman, Germany. Not of the usual passage from Korea southwards through the South China Sea, Indian Ocean, Suez Canal, Mediterranean and up to Europe. Instead they were going northwards across the top of Russia via the Northeast Passage. This definitely peaked my interest and I wrote an e-mail inquiring about the transit. Clearly it is a third of the southward distance and pioneering passage making. This morning I received their reply in a long and detailed e-mail which even attached an ice report and numerous e-mail addresses for continued information. The Beluga Shipping GMBH Geschaftsfuhrender Gesellschafter Niels Stolberg had his staff sent all possible details of the passage, the vessels involved, their cargo capacities and even the number of crew manning the vessels. Finally having done all that he gave NAUTICAL LOG permission to publish. This is quite remarkable, rather unusual and greatly appreciated.
Transit is by a fleet of three ships, all Ice Class E3 (which means they are ice-reinforced for Arctic and Antarctic passages), namely MS "Beluga Family", MS "Beluga Fraternity", and MS "Beluga Foresight". They are transporting equipment for a power plant in individual lifts of 271 and 272 tonnes and 44 single lifts of over 100 tonnes each. The vessels will have Russian Ice Pilots advising the Masters and each vessel has a crew of 15 persons. In house meteorologists will put together regular ice reports from satellite pictures and data supplied by the University of Bremen, Germany for on passage monitoring of conditions by the Navigation Officers. Also the "Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute" (AARI) in St. Petersburg, Russia will supply even more data to give a comprehensive information base. This entire project has been over a year in planning by dedicated staff and the detailed routing with continued suggestions minimizes the risk factor. For those of you who know the Hansa Ports the symbol for Breman is a key, while Hamburg has a gate, which leads to an old Greman joke!! Well it would seem that for Beluga of Breman they have the 'key' to an amazing voyage and NAUTICAL LOG wishes all hands safe passage.