The brand-new Russian LNG tanker Christophe de Margerie set out from a Norwegian terminal earlier this month and used the Northern Sea Route to reach the South Korean port of Boryeong in record time.
The Independent Barents Observer reports that the vessel not only set a speed record — it is also the first commercial vessel ever to have made it across the route autonomously, without the aid of icebreakers.
The LNG carrier reportedly completed the route in six days, 12 hours and 15 minutes, faster than any previous ship, at an average speed of 14 knots. Ice floes along the Arctic Circle are at historic lows and are continuing to melt due to global warming. This is making a shipping route at the top of the world between Europe and Asia increasingly feasible.