20 Apr 2022 13:18

Construction of cargo fleet for NSR envisages cooperation with shipyards from Korea, China - Far East Development Ministry

MOSCOW. April 20 (Interfax) - Construction of the cargo fleet for transportation along the Northern Sea Route (NSR) envisages close international cooperation with shipyards from Korea and China, Far East Development Minister Alexei Chekunkov said in an interview with Interfax.

"At the moment we have drawn up plans for the development of the Northern Sea Route through 2030. We plan to build 55 ice-rated cargo ships. This includes 10 vessels for intra-Russian transportation, which will saturate the regular container line. As for the construction of the cargo fleet, this will involve international cooperation. Russian shipyards alone will not be able to build 55 additional ice-rated ships. We already have good cooperation with Korean shipyards within the framework of the Zvezda shipyard, and gas tankers are being built. Chinese shipyards have expressed great interest in participating in this work," he said.

"In any case, Russian shipyards will be loaded first and to the maximum extent possible. But the order of ships is very big, we will not have time to build both new shipyards and vessels within several years. So part of the fleet will be built abroad. But we will recommend our customers to turn to foreign partners only after 100% utilization of Russian shipyards," Chekunkov said.

Speaking of the expansion of the icebreaker fleet, Chekunkov said that four nuclear-powered icebreakers are already under construction: the "Ural" should be delivered this year, "Chukotka" - in 2024, "Yakutia" - in 2026, while the flagship "Leader" will be delivered in 2027. "All funds have been provided for this, construction is ongoing. At a meeting with the president, a decision was made that 6 more icebreakers and 1 technological vessel will be added to this range, for which additional budgetary and non-budgetary funds will be allocated. Construction of new icebreakers is planned through 2030," he added.

"Industry representatives say they can provide for construction of additional icebreakers. Most likely, these will be nuclear-powered vessels, but as an alternative, they are discussing the option of making them dual-fuel: diesel - LNG. Russia's nuclear industry is at a decent level. As an example, we have begun construction of four more floating nuclear power units like the Akademik Lomonosov for Chukotka to supply energy to the Baimskoye field. When building nuclear icebreakers, an important factor is the degree of domestic localization, almost everything on them is Russian," the minister said.

In terms of the rescue fleet and support system, 16 vessels, 13 helicopters and a new large expanded emergency ministry center in Pevek are being built at the expense of the federal budget. In addition, the possibility of building 30 rescue ships to provide full coverage of the entire route, as well as to comply with the expected time of arrival of rescuers to the vessel in case of distress, is being assessed. Three new emergency-rescue centers managed by the Emergency Situations Ministry are also planned along the entire Northern Sea Route - in Sabetta, Dikson and Tiksi, and one is already under construction in Pevek.

An important component of Northern Sea Route operations is the Arctic satellite constellation. There are plans to launch satellites in 2022-2024. This will provide full coverage of the Northern Sea Route with Internet, communications, ice and hydrometeorological analysis tools.