ABOARD TIAN EN, Aug. 17 (Xinhua) -- A Chinese ice-class cargo ship on Friday crossed the Bering Strait, starting its maiden voyage in the Arctic's Northeast Passage, a waterway known as the "Polar Silk Road."
Tian En, a multifunctional ship of COSCO SHIPPING Specialized Carriers Co., was delivering wind power equipment to the ports of France, the Netherlands and Sweden.
"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.
Crossing the Bering Strait also means icebergs are around the corner. The electronic marine map in Tian En shows that the ship might need Russian icebreakers along the route, which are divided into seven icebreaking zones.
COSCO SHIPPING keeps in regular contact with the Russian side to negotiate whether or when an icebreaker is necessary.
In a white paper declaring its Arctic policy early this year, China has pledged to further cooperate with other countries to jointly build the "Polar Silk Road," 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 has paid close attention to avoid pollution along the waterway.
"We ask our crew to strictly adhere to related international conventions," Zhang said. "The wastes on the ship are deliberately sorted and handled, so that we can help build a green Polar Silk Road."