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First tanker crosses northern sea route without ice breaker

First tanker crosses northern sea route without ice breaker

Science
A commercial LNG tanker has sailed across the colder, northern route from Europe to Asia without the protection of an ice-breaker for the first time. The specially-built ship completed the crossing in just six-and-a-half days setting a new record, according to tanker's Russian owners. The 300-metre-long Sovcomflot ship, the Christophe de Margerie, was carrying gas from Norway to South Korea.Rising Arctic temperatures are boosting commercial shipping across this route. The Christophe de Margerie is the world's first and, at present, only ice-breaking LNG carrier. The ship, which features a lightweight steel reinforced hull, is the largest commercial ship to receive Arc7 certification, which means it is capable of travelling through ice up to 2.1m thick. On this trip it was able to keep up a...
Penguin feathers record migration route

Penguin feathers record migration route

Science
How do you trace where a penguin has swum across the vastness of the Southern Ocean?The surprising answer is from the chemistry of a single tail feather.Incredibly, specific compounds in penguin feather proteins allow scientists to track the birds’ migration over many hundreds of kilometres. The plumage records a kind of "chemical passport" stamped with a signature of the locations visited.Dr Michael Polito, of Louisiana State University, US, told BBC News: "You can say: 'penguins are where they eat,' because a geochemical signature of their wintering area is imprinted into their feathers."Two species of penguin - Chinstraps and Adélies - are the focus of the study published this week in Biological Letters. These animals both live on islands surrounding Antarctica, and migrate extensively