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Vladimir Putin: Only Russian-flagged ships will be allowed to sail future Arctic ‘Northern Route’

The policy announced by the Russian leader will ensure Russian control of a vital new conduit for world trade

(Vesti.Ru) – The right to transport oil and gas along the Northern Sea Route should only be given to the vessels under the Russian flag. Such proposal was formulated by Vladimir Putin. This is just one of the measures that will help to load domestic shipyards with orders, first of all – the “Zvezda” complex in Primorye. How else can the state help shipbuilders – the participants of the special meeting discussed today in the Kremlin.

“Zvezda” is the first shipyard for large-capacity shipbuilding in Russia, where giant tankers and gas carriers to drilling platforms will be launched. It should also become one of the largest in the world.

But it is not enough to build a factory, Putin says. The main thing is to provide it with stable orders.

“I know that the prospective plan for loading “Zvezda” by 2035 has been approved. We were talking about this at the enterprise itself when I was there last time. And this plan must certainly be carried out accurately, not only by Rosneft, but also by others. Yes, Rosneft is involved in this, but it is on my behalf. It’s not only Rosneft’s task, it’s the task of the entire Russian shipbuilding industry. This is actually a national task – the development of production facilities and the creation of modern jobs at the Far East. That’s why I’m asking you not to take this as a departmental, sectoral, or narrow business problem. This is our shared responsibility,” – Putin pointed out.

The shipyard in Bolshoy Kamen existed also in Soviet times. But today it is still being built from scratch. Moreover, on the money of oil workers. They also provide the pilot loading. Specially for  the offshore projects.

In September 2017, in the presence of the president, four supply vessels of the ice class were laid here at once.

“Catherine the Great,” “Holy Mary,” “Vladimir Monomakh,” and “Alexander Nevsky” will be launched in 2019. The entire portfolio of orders from Rosneft includes already 24 vessels. Including five Aframax type tankers – environmentally friendly, with gas fuel. Another 15 LNG tankers of the Arctic class are ordered by Novatek. However, in order to make “Zvezda” profitable in 17 years, a lot more has to be built.

“The loading plan for the shipyards is to be completed by 2035, and is to consist of 178 ships of various types in the final form. Rosneft, for its part, will fully execute the loading instruction at the expense of its projects, that is about 56 vessels, while about 32 ships will be ordered by Gazprom, and, therefore, all will be prepared by the end of the year. The main terms of the orders with Novatek and other customers have been signed,” Igor Sechin, CEO of PJSC NK Rosneft, informed the public.

“I want to remind you of the mutual responsibility of shipbuilders and customers. Customers placing orders should be confident in the precise execution of the contract, and know that they will receive products of an appropriate quality, at an economically reasonable price, and in a timely manner. On this account, the owners of the shipyard must give clear financial guarantees,” – the president of Russia warned.

It is known that both South Korea and China are already getting interested in “Zvezda.” The shipbuilding complex should start working at its full capacity by 2024.

The president has repeatedly underlined: he personally controls the construction of Russia’s largest shipyard in the Far East. But today’s meeting in the Kremlin should give a new impetus to the development of the entire Russian shipbuilding industry.

Currently, shipyards in Kaliningrad, Murmansk, and St. Petersburg are loaded with orders.

The world’s largest nuclear icebreaker – “Siberia” – has recently launched the “Baltic Plant.”

Three more of the same are in plans. In the meantime, shipbuilders are already developing design documentation for the icebreaker, which will be twice as powerful as “Siberia.”

“Leader” is a real Arctic SUV. Actually, it is quite possible to assemble it in the new “Zvezda,” where the documents for obtaining a license for nuclear shipbuilding are already being issued. Especially, since Russia plans to make the Northern Sea Route an all-season global transport artery.

So, today, Putin promised to grant the exclusive right to transport and store hydrocarbons to the vessels under the Russian flag. Everything to strengthen the position of the Russian shipping companies.

translated by Anna Lutskova De Bacci

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