A commercial LNG tanker has sailed across the colder, northern route from Europe to Asia without the protection of an ice-breaker for the first time.
The specially-built ship completed the crossing in just six-and-a-half days setting a new record, according to tanker's Russian owners.
The 300-metre-long Sovcomflot ship, the Christophe de Margerie, was carrying gas from Norway to South Korea.
Rising Arctic temperatures are boosting commercial shipping across this route.
The Christophe de Margerie is the world's first and, at present, only ice-breaking LNG carrier.
The ship, which features a lightweight steel reinforced hull, is the largest commercial ship to receive Arc7 certification, which means it is capable of travelling through ice up to 2.1m thick.
On this trip it was able to keep up an average speed of 14 knots despite sailing through ice that was over one-metre-thick in places.
"Previously there was only a window of navigation from our summer to autumn, but this ship will be able to sail westwards from Sabetta which is the Yamal energy port, all year round and eastwards from July to December," said Sovcomflot spokesman Bill Spears.