Phase two: ...
Phase three: PROFIT!
The historic development was revealed by satellite images taken last week showing that both the north-west and north-east passages have been opened by melting ice.
Prof Mark Serreze, a sea ice specialist at the National Snow and Ice Data Centre (NSIDC) in the US said the images suggested the Arctic may have entered a "death spiral" caused by global warming.
Shipping companies are already planning to exploit the first simultaneous opening of the routes since the beginning of the last Ice Age 125,000 years ago. The Beluga Group in Germany says it will send the first ship through the north-east passage, around Russia, next year, cutting 4,000 miles off the voyage from Germany to Japan.