A tanker carrying Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) has crossed the Arctic Ocean route for the first time.
It shows how global warming has opened up new routes for commercial shipping.
It represents a new lane between Europe and Asia a third shorter than through the Suez Canal.
In September scientists recorded the lowest summer ice cover since satellite data collection began, 50 percent lower than the 1979 – 2000 average.
The tanker left Norway in November, sailed over the Arctic Ocean and the Bering straight and arrived in Southwestern Japan.
The vessel, owned by a company connected to Russia’s Gazprom, delivered 60,000 tonnes of LNG to Japan’s Kyushu Electric Power Company.
The new route will enable Japan to increase its LNG imports from Europe and Russia, cutting its heavy dependence on supplies from the Middle East.