A Mysurean has become the first marine engineer from India to transit the Arctic to the Yamal Peninsula in the northwest of Siberia in Russia.
Son of Elizabeth Livero and George Varghese, V Steve Richard, is the Second Engineer (designation) on board the Arc7 LNG Carrier Eduard Toll, Hull No 2423; the first of the six ice class vessels of Teekay (TK) LNG Partners, built in Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering (DSME), South Korea.
"The vessel was delivered on December 9, 2017, and I am part of the delivery team. The maiden voyage to the North Pole en route the Arctic Ocean to the Yamal Peninsula in the Arctic Circle, is an adventure of a lifetime. It is a dream of every seafarer to cross the Bering Strait and sail through the Northern Sea Route and I am amongst the fortunate ones. I am the first Indian marine engineer to have transit this route to the North Pole on an LNG Vessel," Richard stated in a communication to his mother in Mysuru.
Born in Mysuru, Steve Richard studied in St Joseph's School, Jayalakshmipuram, and graduated in BE, Mechanical, from Vidyavardhaka College of Engineering in Gokulam. He currently resides in Christian Colony, Mysuru with his parents and wife Carol Jyothi Lobo.
His mother Elizabeth Livero said that he was awarded the 'Best Outgoing Student of the Mechanical Department' for the year 2009. "He later completed the Graduate Marine Engineering from Great Eastern Institute of Maritime Studies, Pune. He was recruited on campus to Teekay as a Trainee Marine Engineer and has been working there since 2010, rising in position to Second Engineer," she said.
"The Yamal Project is Russia's largest energy project with an estimate of gas reserves of 55 trillion cubic meters. In the language of its indigenous inhabitants, the Nenets, 'Yamal' means 'End of the Land'. The peninsula consists mostly of permafrost ground and is geologically a young place. It holds Russia's biggest natural gas reserves. The project includes a large LNG plant, capable of producing 16.5 million tonnes of LNG per year. DSME, South Korea, is building 15 LNG carriers for this project. The load port Sabetta and first phase of the plant were opened by President Vladimir Putin on December 8, 2017," the communication says.
"The team of Eduard Toll is headed by Russian Captain Andrey Solomakha and Italian Chief Engineer Salvatore Distefano. The officers on board are Spanish, British, Italian and Russian while the crew are Filipinos. Steve is the only Indian on board. The team was welcomed at Sabetta by Captain Vladimir Arutyunyan," said Elizabeth.
"The ice-clad journey through the dark and bitter cold of minus 35 to 40 degrees Celsius witnessed no sunrise and only icebergs, arctic foxes, polar bears and the northern star which lights up the night sky with varied colours - Aurora Borealis. No vessels transit the route during this part of the year as the ice is thick and the visibility poor. The winter is unbearable and one's ears and fingers go numb within minutes without proper winter gear. It has been the coldest and longest night of my life, lasting three weeks, my new year is yet to see a sunrise," Richard has said. "The vessel successfully loaded LNG at load port Sabetta, Yamal Peninsula, on January 17 and she is headed to Montoir, in France, to discharge," he has communicated.