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Russian tanker is the first to sail the Arctic without an icebreaker escort

In another sign of our warming world, a Russian tanker has completed an Arctic trip from Norway to South Korea in record time, becoming the first ship to cross the Northern Sea Route (NSR) without the aid of an icebreaker vessel travelling ahead. Although that's partly due to shrinking ice coverage, the Christophe de Margerie vessel has also been specially built with this journey in mind – the ship comes with icebreakers already fitted. However, there's no doubt that the thawing of the Arctic ice is making the shipping route more viable than ever. Fewer than 500 ships have made the journey since 1906, but Sovcomflot, which owns the tanker, expects journeys through this route to become routine in the future. "Even if we stopped greenhouse emissions tomorrow, the acceleration in the loss of Arctic ice is unlikely to be reversed," oceanographer Simon Boxall, from the University of Southampton in the UK, told Patrick Barkham at The Guardian.

Read More: ScienceAlert

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