Stena Polaris paving the way for new contacts

15 October 2013




Images by Stena Bulk

The Stena Polaris is approaching its destination – the port of Yosu in South Korea. Her voyage began on 17 September in Russian Ust Luga in the Gulf of Finland and she is expected to arrive in Yosu in about a week. For part of the voyage of 8,400 nautical miles, the tanker sailed in a convoy headed by a Russian nuclear powered icebreaker through the harsh North-East Passage. Follow the Stena Polaris in daily blogs and podcasts (including interviews with Lars Danielsson, the Swedish ambassador to South Korea and the adventurer Ola Skinnarmo) at www.stenanorthernsearoute.com

Sailing via the North-East Passage offers the expansive Northern Asia opportunities to speed up the freight routes to and from the region. “The voyage with the Stena Polaris is the first project where we are transferring technology and operational know-how from Stena to Hyundai Glovis. At the same time, it is the beginning of important collaboration. Stena’s objective is to expand in Asia together with good partners”, says Carl-Johan Hagman, CEO of Stena Shipping, Drilling and Ferries.

Sweden has had good relations with South Korea ever since new contacts the Korean War in the 1950s. Today, 80-90 Swedish companies are established in South Korea and Sweden is regarded as a model with many successful companies. South Korea is a shipping and maritime nation and is naturally interested in Arctic questions. The country has had observers on the Arctic Council since last May. Sweden chaired the council in 2011-2013. http://www.arctic-council.org/index.php/en/

Higher safety requirements
Increased traffic in the Arctic has led to higher safety requirements. IMO (International Maritime Organisation, http://www.imo.org/Pages/home.aspx) is currently in the process of drawing up a Polar Code that will lay down the basic prerequisites and requirements for transportation through the Arctic. Today, there are only guidelines, “We are, of course, in favour of more explicit requirements in order to ensure safer shipping in the region. Stena has always been at the cutting edge of developments in safety as we are in this case since we are already well equipped and are operating at a level over and above the guidelines currently in force. Nevertheless, we are continuing to develop our operations with further improvements based on our own experience and collaboration with other players”, says Erik Hånell, President and CEO of Stena Bulk AB, in a comment.

Savings via the North-East Passage
Sailing to South Korea via the North-East Passage compared with sailing via the Suez Canal, India and the Strait of Malacca cuts 10-13 days off the voyage. A medium-sized tanker such as the Stena Polaris saves around 400 tons of fuel. This represents savings of SEK 2 million in addition to environmental benefits since the voyage takes fewer days.

Patrik Svahn, Manager Commercial Operations in Stena Bulk’s office in Gothenburg, is now on board the Stena Polaris and blogs directly from the ship. ”This means that we have now almost completed the ice-covered part of our adventure. But rest assured that the adventure continues! Firstly we have to cross the Bering Strait and the Bering Sea which could invite our good vessel to dance over the big waves. Me and the Captain are both fans of the TV show Deadliest Catch which is a show about fishermen on the Bering Sea. For every episode the weather conditions gets worse and worse and the small fishing boats bob up and down on the waves that could be metres high. So just because we have passed the Northern Sea Route with all its challenges does not mean that we can sit back and relax for the remainder of our journey. Now we are ready to face some hard weather conditions or as Captain Stipanovic puts it – now it’s time for rock n’ roll!”
www.stenanorthernsearoute.com/hello-sunshine/

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.

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 left the Gulf of Finland on 17 September and is expected to arrive at the port of Yosu in South Korea on 22 October.

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. www.stenabulk.com

Related article: Follow the Stena Polaris through the North-East Passage

Stena Bulk, press release