(Yicai Global) Sept. 8 -- China's 8th Arctic Scientific expedition successfully crossed the Northwest Passage (NWP) in the Canadian Arctic aboard the vessel Snow Dragon on Wednesday, thus pioneering a new maritime passage from North America to Northeast Asia 20 percent shorter than the traditional Panama Canal route.
The Snow Dragon sailed into Davis Strait at 14:10 on Aug. 30 (Beijing time) by way of Baffin Bay, Lancaster Sound, Peel Sound, Victoria Strait and Amundsen Gulf, all within Canada's northernmost territory of Nunavut.
After a voyage of 2,293 sea miles, the vessel entered Beaufort Sea at 5.40 p.m. Sept. 6 (Beijing time). Snow Dragon thus became the first Chinese vessel to successfully thread through the NWP, official Xinhua News Agency reported. During the test run through the NWP, the scientific expedition on Snow Dragon also surveyed the sea floor terrain, gathered data on meteorology and sea ice and collected samples for biodiversity analysis to obtain first-hand data on the marine environment, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.
The Arctic Passage mainly includes the Northeast Passage (NEP) along the Russian coast, the NWP through Canada's Arctic Archipelago and the Central Passage (CP) which crosses the central high seas of the Arctic Ocean. The Snow Dragon has now successively completed its first trial voyages through all three of these major Arctic passages. Six Chinese merchant ships will also navigate the NEP this year, per Xinhua.