6 Mar 2019 09:35

Foreign military ships to be compelled to notify Russia about plans to travel along Northern Sea Route - newspaper

MOSCOW. March 6 (Interfax) - Russia has pledged to protect the Northern Sea Route, and the government has elaborated rules of its use by foreign military ships, the newspaper Izvestia said on Wednesday citing the relevant document.

"The new rules prescribe that foreign states send a notice regarding the planned travel of their ships along the Northern Sea Route 45 days in advance. The notice must indicate the names of military ships and vessels, their goals, routes, and duration of the voyage. It also must indicate main ship parameters, such as the displacement, the length, the width, the draft, and characteristics of the power unit. It is also necessary to report the military rank and name of the captain. The ships will be compelled to take Russian pilots aboard. Russian icebreakers will lead foreign ships through the ices if necessary," Izvestia said.

The ships will also be compelled to prevent environmental pollution. In case of emergency or complicated ice conditions, the captains must send a report to the nearest Russian port or military base.

The newspaper noted that U.S. representatives had repeatedly called for making the Northern Sea Route a transport corridor open to all. The latest statement of the kind was made by U.S. Coast Guard Commander Adm. Paul Zukunft in 2018.

According to Izvestia, the United States is challenging the right of any littoral country, not just Russia, to establish the rules of navigation in the Arctic waters. They do not recognize the right of Canada to control Arctic routes, either.

The U.S.' claims regarding the Northern Sea Route date back to the Cold War. In 1964, Washington and Moscow exchanged protests after U.S. ships tried to travel along the coast without authorization, Izvestia said.