Making fun of Suez traffic jam, Rosatom promotes the Arctic alternative route

10 percent of world trade is shipped via the 193 kilometer long Egyptian Suez Canal, which connects the Red Sea with the Mediterranean. The 400-meter-long container ship “Ever Given” has blocked the canal since Tuesday, increasing fears of oil prices and the dependence of European industry on punctual delivery of spear parts made in Asia.

Lifeboats work day and night trying to release the 224,000 ton ship.

In Moscow, Rosatom published several tweets on Thursday morning listing the favorable reasons to consider world shipping to look north for an alternative to the Suez Canal route.

3. You could get stuck in the Suez Canal for days

– Rosatom Global (@RosatomGlobal) March 25, 2021

In 2018, the Russian government appointed Rosatom to be in charge of the North Sea route through a special directorate headed by Vyacheslav Ruksha, the strong man from Murmansk who was previously director of the Rosatom fleet of nuclear-powered icebreakers.

With a rapidly melting Arctic, the window for sailing ships north of Russia is getting bigger every year. In addition, Rosatom is significantly increasing its capacity to keep the North Sea route open to shipping by building new and more powerful icebreakers. Third, the fleet of ice-reinforced LNG tankers serving the liquid natural gas production facilities on Yamal and in Ob Bay will be expanded with tens of new ships.


For Moscow, Arctic shipping is key to industrial development in northernmost Siberia, which is believed to play an important role in the country’s future economy.

Sailing the North Sea route from China to European ports is about 40% shorter than sailing the Suez Canal. So far, however, traffic in the north has been very little and by no means a competitor to Suez or sailing in Africa.

The North Sea Route offers much more space if you want to use your huge ships to draw “strange pictures”. Rosatom jokes in another tweet and a link to an article showing the AIS trace of “Ever Given” forming a giant penis in the Red Sea before entering the canal.

Topic: Reasons to consider the North Sea route as an alternative to the Suez Canal route

1. Much more space to draw strange pictures with your giant ships

– Rosatom Global (@RosatomGlobal) March 25, 2021

The ice in the Arctic Ocean is relatively thin this winter, so oil tankers and LNG carriers often travel unaccompanied by an icebreaker. Rosatom can boast of how they provide real-time data on weather, currents, ice movement, and other vital information for navigating north.

If necessary, like in the middle of winter, the North Sea Route offers an icebreaker accompaniment. Rosatom gives an example of how the cargo ship “Sparta III” was freed from the nuclear-powered icebreaker “Vaygach” after it got stuck in the ice at the end of December.

Rosatom recently put its newest icebreaker, the powerful “Arktika”, into operation. Four similar icebreakers are under construction, and the Russian state is already funding an even larger Lider-class icebreaker.

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