In today's BBC Online there is an article, with video, and photographs on the Northeast Passage Transit. NAUTICAL LOG Posted these same photographs sometime ago. This was due to the kindness of BELUGA's Geschaftsfuhrender Gesellschafter Niels Stolberg. So it looks as if the BBC is catching up with us!!
Meanwhile here at NAUTICAL LOG there have been several inquiries about Ice Classification. Briefly and without getting into the complexities of Naval Architecture, the short answer follows. For a more detailed answer contact your Classification Society or National Maritime Administration.
The BELUGA ships that transitted the Northeast Passage are German Ice Class E3. This is the equivalent of Lloyd's, Finnish and Swedish Classifications of 1A. There is only one Ice Classification higher, E4/1A Super. This would be a full icebreaker strength vessel.