From the NYT:
A german commercial ship, following a Russian Icebreaker is about to complete the Northeast Passage. I never thought I’d see this. And the really scary thing is that now there are myriad commercial interests that want this to continue.
But the Russians hope that the transit of the German ships will inaugurate the passage as a reliable shipping route, and that the combination of the melting ice and the economic benefits of the shortcut – it is thousands of miles shorter than various southerly routes – will eventually make the Arctic passage a summer competitor with the Suez Canal.
“It is global warming that enables us to think about using that route,” Verena Beckhusen, a spokeswoman for the shipping company, the Beluga Group of Bremen, Germany, said in a telephone interview.