Maritime history was made this month with the passage of the first commercial container ship through the Northern Sea Route of the Arctic Ocean, a route made possible by the melting of Arctic ice.
The Venta Maersk, a new ship loaded with Russian fish and South Korean electronics, left Vladivostok, Russia, at the beginning of September and is expected to arrive in Bremerhaven, Germany, next week, after successfully navigating ice-plagued seas from the Bering Straits north.
The waters at the top of the world have warmed rapidly over the last four decades, at nearly twice the rate of warming in the rest of the world, according to the Arctic Council, an international group that studies the region. The United Nations’ panel on climate change says the dramatic warming is unprecedented in human history.
Only a decade ago shipping experts all but ruled out traveling across the Arctic Ocean.
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