Icebreaker sets record for earliest transit of the Northwest Passage

Last Updated Jul 29, 2017 5:59 PM EDT

NUUK, Greenland — After 24 days at sea and a journey spanning more than 6,214 miles, the Finnish icebreaker MSV Nordica has set a new record for the earliest transit of the fabled Northwest Passage. 

The once-forbidding route through the Arctic, linking the Pacific and the Atlantic oceans, has been opening up sooner and for a longer period each summer due to climate change. Sea ice that foiled famous explorers and blocked the passage to all but the hardiest ships has slowly been melting away in one of the most visible effects of man-made global warming. 

Records kept by Canada’s Department of Fisheries and Oceans show that the previous earliest passage of the season happened in 2008, when the Canadian Coast Guard ship Louis L. St-Laurent left St. John’s in Newfoundland on July 5 and arrived in the Beaufort Sea off Point Barrow on July 30. 

In this July 21, 2017 file photo, the Finnish icebreaker MSV Nordica leaves a wake after sailing through sea ice floating on the Victoria Strait while traversing the Arctic’s Northwest Passage.

David Goldman / AP

The Nordica, with a team of researchers and Associated Press journalists on board, completed a longer transit in less time — albeit in the opposite direction — setting off from Vancouver on July 5 and reaching Nuuk, the capital of Greenland, on July 29. 

Tiina Jaaskelainen, second from left, and fellow researchers look out from the Finnish icebreaker MSV Nordica as it arrives into Nuuk, Greenland, after traversing the Northwest Passage through the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, Saturday, July 29, 2017.

David Goldman / AP

While the icebreaker encountered Chinese cargo vessels, Alaskan fishing boats and a German cruise ship in the Pacific, upon…

Read the full article at the Original Source..

Back to Top