Russia said there will be an increase in voyages on the Northern Sea Route between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans in 2011.

Rosatomflot Assistant director Mikhail Belkin said state-owned Rosatomflot, which provides nuclear ice-breakers to accompany ships on Arctic voyages, had received about 15 applications to accompany voyages across the Arctic in 2011, seven more than last year.

The route could serve as an alternative to shipping through the Suez canal.

Ice in the Arctic Sea shrank in the summer of 2010 to the third smallest since satellite record keeping commenced, according to Reuters.