This BBC report is designed to lead the casual reader to assume no ice breaker is required because there's no ice, due to global warming. The BBC even state:
'Rising Arctic temperatures are boosting commercial shipping across this route.'
However read down the article and you learn that
'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 an average speed of 14 knots despite sailing through ice that was over one-metre-thick in places.'
So the reason that this ship didn't need an ice breaker to lead it through the ice is because it is itself an ice breaker.
More BBC misleading here http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-41037071