Heavy lift carrier Audax on its way across the Northern Sea Route on previous voyage. Photo: Rosatom

Two heavy lift carriers loaded with LNG plant modules start 6,000 km midwinter odyssey towards Murmansk

The Pugnax and Audax are making it through the thick sea-ice of the Northern Sea Route on their way from China to the Kola Bay.
January 24, 2024


It is far from the first midwinter Arctic voyage of the two 206 meter long ice-protected carriers.

A convoy with icebreaker Arktika and heavy lift carriers Audax and Pugnax were in late January 2024 located in the eastern Chukchi Sea getting ready for about 6,000 km of icy sailing across Northern Sea Route. Map by MarineTraffic/Barents Observer

The Pugnax sailed the route in late December 2021 and was followed by the Audax only about two months later. Several more voyages have been made.

But it is probably the first time that the two carriers sail together in the same convoy.

The heavy lift vessels have become crucial for Russian natural gas company Novatek and its development of the Arctic LNG 2 project. The Pugnax and Audax are owned by two private companies in the BVI and are operated by Red Box Energy Logistics Pte. Ltd., a Singapore company.

The ships have brought a significant number of modules needed for the construction of the project’s so-called gravity-based structures. The Arctic LNG 2 includes three structures, each comprised by 14 modules. The first of the structures was towed to the project production site in the Ob Bay in August last year and is due to start production in early 2024.


The Audax in icy waters. Photo: Novatek



Construction works at Novatek’s construction center in Belokamenka outside Murmansk continue although the Arctic LNG 2 project in November 2023 was added to the U.S sanctions list against Russia.

Both ships set out from the Chinese port of Penglai on the 6th of January. They are expected to make it to Belokamenka on the 17th of February. They are escorted by nuclear-powered icebreaker Arktika, data from the Northern Sea Route General Administration show.

Both ships are designed by Aker Arctic, the Finnish company specializing in of ice-going vessels.


Notice to readers: This article originally wrote that the Pugnax and Audax are owned by company Red Box and that it is a Dutch company. The correct is that the vessels are owned by two private companies in the BVI and that they are operated by Red Box Energy Logistics Pte. Ltd., a Singapore company.




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