An Arc7 LNG carrier has made a first appearance at a Japanese terminal after shipping a cargo from Russia via the Northern Sea Route.

The 172,600-cbm Vladimir Rusanov (built 2018), which is co-owned by Mitsui OSK Lines and China Cosco Shipping and on long-term charter to Yamal Trade, arrived at the Ohgishima terminal in Tokyo Bay last week.

Yamal LNG lead developer Novatek said the cargo was a spot shipment delivered by subsidiary Novatek Gas & Power Asia.

MOL said the vessel left Yamal LNG’s Sabetta terminal on 29 June and took about seven days sailing at an average of 15 knots eastwards through the Northern Sea Route to reach the Bering Strait.

The shipowner said although ice generally melts in the period from the end of June to the beginning of July, during the time the vessel was navigating this region some ice remained, particularly in the East Bering Sea.

Vladimir Rusanov navigating through the Northern Sea Route en route to a maiden call in Japan for Arc7 LNG carriers. Photo: MOL

“The vessel either avoided sailing through or conducted ice-breaking navigation in areas where ice remained,” MOL added.

The Japanese owner, which is expected to take on two giant LNG floating storage units that have recently been ordered for the Northern Sea Route, detailed that the 4,900 nautical mile (9,070 km) summer route from Sabetta to Japan took the LNG carrier 14 days at an average sailing speed of 15 knots.

This compares to a 13,700 nautical mile route taking 38 days via the Suez Canal.

Last month, TradeWinds reported another Arc7 sistership taking a shore-hugging route through the eastern part of the Northern Sea Route which appeared to shave time off earlier passages of similar vessels.

“Transportation from the Russian Arctic through the Northern Sea Route contributes to reducing greenhouse gas emissions as the required navigation distance is 65% shorter than that via the Suez Canal,” MOL said.

“Additionally, energy transportation through the Northern Sea Route enables Asian countries, including Japan who relies on natural energy imports, to develop a new energy supply route.”

Novatek's first deputy chairman of the management board, Lev Feodosyev, said the company focuses a significant amount of attention on logistics for its LNG projects.

He added: "The future launch of a transshipment terminal in Kamchatka will significantly expand our opportunities to cost competitively deliver and supply LNG to the entire Asia-Pacific region."