A Chinese cargo ship built to plow through icy waters on Saturday successfully sailed out of the Arctic Circle to complete its first voyage within the circle.
The ship the Tian En, owned by COSCO SHIPPING Specialized Carriers Co., was heading south from the Norwegian Sea and was expected to arrive at France's Port of Rouen on Wednesday night local time, the Xinhua News Agency reported on Sunday.
Tian En sailed through heavy seas in recent days and operation of the ships elevator was suspended for safety concern, said Xinhua.
The ship's maiden voyage through the Arctic's Northeast Passage began after it crossed the Bering Strait on August 17, a waterway that has been nicknamed the "Polar Silk Road."
"It is the shortest route linking northeast Asia and northern Europe, and more importantly it's a safe one," said Captain Chen Xiangwu, referring to the Arctic's Northeast Passage, told the Xinhua News Agency.
The Arctic Circle route brings some obvious challenges such as icebergs and pack ice.
In a white paper declaring its Arctic policy early this year, China pledged to further cooperate with other countries to jointly build a "Polar Silk Road," as part of the Belt and Road initiative.
"The Polar Silk Road is turning into a golden route," said Zhang Li, deputy general manager of the company, adding that COSCO SHIPPING is avoiding causing pollution along the waterway.
"The ship's waste is deliberately sorted and handled so that we can help build a green Polar Silk Road," Zhang said.