Sovcomflot Calls For Better Safety Measures on Northern Sea Route

Image Courtesy: Sovcomflot

Russia’s largest shipping company SCF Group (Sovcomflot) has urged the Russian government to continue with its plan to improve navigational safety measures on the Northern Sea Route (NSR).

The company also called for a ban on substandard ships and crews sailing in the environmentally sensitive region.

The topic was discussed at the meeting between Dmitry Medvedev, Prime Minister of Russia, and Sergey Frank, President and CEO of SCF Group, held on July 10.

Frank stressed the necessity of taking additional measures to ensure navigation safety along the NSR given the significant growth of freight traffic in that area and anticipated growth.

In 2018, just two energy projects in the Gulf of Ob, Novy Port and Yamal LNG, both served by SCF vessels, are expected to generate around 11.5 million tons of freight alone, almost doubling the NSR peak record of 6.6 million tons in 1987. SCF shuttle tankers have commenced year-round oil shipments from Novy Port and Yamal LNG is expected to come onstream in late 2017, SCF Group said in a statement.

On behalf of the maritime community, Sergey Frank has expressed hope that the Russian government will maintain the rate at which NSR infrastructure is being improved to ensure that the existing navigation safety measures remain adequate to the needs of the growing vessel traffic.

This includes consistently developing the navigational and hydrographic support system, boosting the readiness of rescue services, and improving the reliability of navigational and communications aids.

Dmitry Medvedev has promised that the Russian government will work on developing the NSR infrastructure, according to SCF Group.

Frank also informed about the key results of the 2016/17 winter navigation season, as well as of the general results of SCF operations servicing energy projects in the Russian Arctic and the Russian Far East.

As of the end of 2Q 2017, over 200 million tons of crude oil and more than 16 million tons of liquefied natural gas have been transported by SCF vessels for energy projects operating in the Arctic seas (Varandey, Prirazlomnoye, Novy Port) and in the Russian Far East (Sakhalin-1, Sakhalin-2) since the company began focusing on long-term project-based energy transportation and offshore servicing in 2006.

During the first half of 2017 alone, Sovcomflot vessels transported 17 million tons of crude oil from the Russian Arctic and the Russian Far East.

The environmental agenda was also discussed during the meeting. Frank expressed his conviction that due to the vulnerability of the Arctic ecosystem, substandard vessels and vessels manned by inexperienced and poorly qualified crews should be banned from Arctic operations.

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