February 11 - The American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) has released a technical paper supporting shipowners and operators that plan to transit the increasing popular shipping routes through the Arctic seas.

The Navigating the Northern Sea Route Advisory was developed in partnerships with the Russian Central Marine Research and Design Institute and provides information on obtaining permits to transit the route, as well as possible technical and operational risks that can arise when operating in the region.

The paper includes detailed information on the following: The Northern Sea Route (NSR); the Arctic environment; NSR regulations; winterisation strategies; the practice of navigating in ice-covered waters; and ports of the NSR.

Navigating the NSR can reduce the time it takes to journey between Japan and Rotterdam by approximately 3,400 miles, or ten days, compared to the traditional route via the Suez Canal. ABS chief technical officer Todd Grove explained: "The NSR's growing popularity has positive implications for transit times between Asia and Northern Europe … but the often unpredictable and unfamiliar shipping environment through the north also poses operational and technical challenges."

"This Advisory was developed to provide the industry with some of the information it needs to navigate those challenges safely and efficiently, while also helping to minimise the impact on the environment," he added.

Navigating the Northern Sea Route Advisory is available for download through the ABS website, here.