Follow the Stena Polaris through the North-East Passage

1 October 2013

Stena Bulk’s tanker Stena Polaris, with a cargo of 44,000 tons of naphtha, is sailing from the Gulf of Finland via the North-East Passage to South Korea. A route that passes through Arctic waters that make exacting demands on technology, know-how and experience. The 31-day voyage can be followed via reports, photos and films in part directly from the ship. There are also interviews with the crew and officers as well as experts in the field.

The Stena Polaris left Russian Ust Luga in the Gulf of Finland on 17 September and is expected to arrive at the port of Yosu in South Korea on 18 October. The voyage is a joint project between Stena Bulk and South Korean Hyundai Glovis.

“This will be one of the greatest adventures in my life and I have very high expectation with regard to what we will see and experience. I’ll also be getting a lot of useful experience, which we will be able to make use of in our continuous development work”, says Patrik Svahn, who normally works in Stena Bulk’s office in Gothenburg but is now “our” man on board.

Patrik blogs daily directly from the ship – read here for an example. In the first Podcast, published today, we focus on “People on board”. Here, there is an interview with Captain Sasa Stipanovic and information concerning preparedness, daily routines and training as well as food on board.

In the weeks ahead, we plan to publish a further three podcasts entitled “The Commercial Aspect” with facts about the ship, the high safety requirements, the technology on board and the important icebreakers and “Nature/Culture” about the environment, weather and clothing, history and descriptions of locations. At the end of the voyage, there will be a podcast entitled “Economy and Future Prospects” where we take up general environmental issues, including the Polar Code. The Swedish Ambassador to South Korea, Lars Danielsson, will provide information on South Korea, the ship’s destination.

Know-how and experience
There are a limited number of tankers that are equipped to sail through the North-East Passage. Operating in extreme Arctic conditions requires know-how and experience. Stena has extensive knowledge of the tough environment in the north and knows how to navigate safely through ice-covered waters. To maintain its leading position in safe transportation at sea, every year the company invests large sums in developing the necessary routines. Well-equipped vessels together with highly experienced crews are the only way to master Arctic conditions. This means that currently, only a relatively limited number of vessels are able to sail through these waters.

“One of the objectives of this special voyage through the North-East Passage is to transfer operational and technical experience from Stena to Hyundai Glovis. Accordingly, the focus is mainly on the experience we have gathered during all the years we have been operating in the icy conditions in the North-East Passage”, says Erik Hånell, President & CEO of Stena Bulk.

About the P-MAX tankers
The P-MAX tankers were designed and built by Stena and Concordia Maritime. They have a double hull, optimum corrosion control, two engine rooms with full water and fire integrity and two propulsion systems. Double propellers and rudders and a specially designed bridge layout give the tanker extremely good maneuverability and a 360° view, which facilitate safe navigation in narrow waters.

The Stena Polaris, which is owned by Concordia Maritime and has been time-chartered by Stena Bulk for this project, has the following technical data: Length: 183 m, beam: 40 m, draft: 11.3 m, deadweight: 65,000 tons.

See the ongoing report at where you will find blogs, podcasts, photos and films from the voyage.

With offices in six countries, Stena Bulk is one of the world’s leading tanker shipping companies. The company controls a combined fleet of around 100 tankers. Stena Bulk is part of the Stena Sphere, which has more than 20,000 employees and sales of SEK 60 billion.

Stena Bulk, press release