The Northwest Passage is Open for Business

The Northwest Passage is Open for Business September 30, 2013

Sometimes the climate change news really hits me where I live – literally and figuratively. Take this article from the maritime news site gCaptain:

Danish Panamax Coal Carrier Completes Northwest Passage

A large sea freighter completed a voyage through the hazardous Arctic Northwest Passage for the first time on Friday as global warming opens routes that mariners have wanted for centuries.

The 75,000 deadweight-tonne Nordic Orion, built in 2011, left the Canadian Pacific port of Vancouver in early September with a cargo of coking coal and is scheduled to arrive in the Finnish port of Pori on Oct. 7, according to AIS shipping data.


Harsh conditions in the Arctic sea route so far have limited shipping mostly to small cargo vessels and ice-breakers, which supply northern Canadian communities.

I’m sitting here next to the Hudson River. Its namesake, Henry Hudson, followed it north in the hopes of finding the northwest passage to the spices of the indies. He found decent land and, even better, natives willing to trade furs for goods. His Dutch backers were happy enough about that they overlooked about his obsession with finding a channel through the northern ice.

Hudson’s quest eventually found him stranded by his own crew, who had gotten fed up with his wild-goose chase. Apparently he was just 400 years too early.

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