NSR History


In the 15th century, efforts were made to find a new all-water route to India and China. Most of these attempts were directed at seeking a Northwest Passage. However, English, Dutch, and Russian navigators were seeking a northeast route by sailing along the northern coast of Russia and far into the arctic seas.

In the 1550s, English ships made the first attempt to find the passage. Willem Barentz, the Dutch navigator, made several futile voyages in the 1590s, as did the English navigator Henry Hudson in the early 17th century. Danish navigator Vitus Bering also made an attempt but did not get farther than to the Strait which now bears his name. During 1733-34, the Russian Great Northern Expedition explored most of the coast of Northern Siberia but no one travelled the full length of the Northeast Passage until Swedish Nils A. E. Nordenskjöld in his converted whaling ship Vega, accomplished the feat in 1878-79.

In the early 1900s, icebreakers sailed through the passage and in the 1930s the Northern Sea Route was established as a shipping lane by the USSR. Since World War II the Soviet Union and now Russia have maintained a regular shipping highway along this passage through the development of new ports and the exploitation of resources in the area.

We are therefore very proud to be pioneers of the historic transit in 2010 of the first non-Russian bulk carrier to use this transit lane from Northern Norway to China. In addition to the business potential of the Northern Sea Route, this expedition again emphasizes the long history of maritime traditions and opens another exciting chapter in navigation.

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