The Finnish-Swedish geographer and explorer Nordenskjöld was the first to navigate the so-called North-East Passage (in the arctic waters north of Russia)

Nordenskjöld’s ship Vega had a steam engine aside from sails, and set out from Norway on 21 July 1878, heading for Bering’s Strait.

But before reaching Bering’s Strait the ship was frozen in, and had to spend from Sept 1878 until July the next year in the ice.      

On 22 July 1879 the Vega reached Port Clarence in Alaska, so the trip through the NE Passage took one year and one day. The return voyage went via Yokohama, Hongkong, Singapore and Sri Lanka and through the Suez Canal. Vega was back in Stockholm in April 1880.

It was said that the practical results of the voyage at the time were few.

In Aug 2017, two weeks ago, a Russian gas tanker sailed through the NE Passage from Hammerfest in Norway to S Korea, in 19 days.  Obviously without serious problems with the ice.

It is entirely clear that this is made possible by global warming and the melting of the arctic sea ice. It is also clear that the melting continues. “The practical results” this time will possibly be overwhelming.