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HANSA 09-2017

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Schifffahrt | Shipping

Schifffahrt | Shipping Russia relies on its Arctic trump Despite and because of political and economic challenges the country is facing, Russia’s government puts special emphasis on developing the maritime industry. Arctic shipping and the »Ice Silk Road« play an important role According to offcial statements, projections for volumes along Russia’s Northern Sea Route (NSR) heat up as the first Yamal gas carrier tests the waters in a voyage to South Korea, while China and Russia reach agreement to exploit the »Ice Silk Road«. Before the recent G20 Summit in Hamburg, President Xi Jinping of China visited Russia to sign an agreement dubbed, identifying Russia’s Northern Sea route as key to future cooperation between the two nations. Moscow intends to drive the nations raw materials export drive eastward and China is not the only Asian economy hoping to benefit. As the largest importer of liquefied natural gas in the world, Japan’s commitment to the massive Yamal LNG project was made explicit in 2014, when the Japanese Bank for International Co-operation brokered a 400 mill. $ financing package to ensure completion. At the end of July 2017, for example, the world’s largest icebreaking tanker, »Christophe de Margerie«, departed from Norway’s Hammerfest LNG plant headed for South Korea, on its first commercial voyage via the NSR. The Arc7 iceclass vessel is the first of 15 vessels envisaged for Yamal LNG, with first liftings expected in October. In Korea, the vessel will deliver a cargo for Total Gas & Power, the company announced, adding that it is the first unescorted merchant LNG vessel ever to take this route, »which makes it possible to reach Asia via the Bering Strait in 15 days versus 30 days via the Suez Canal.« In 2016, NSR traffc grew by 35%, reaching 7.27 mill. t overall, officials say. Sovcomflot Chief Executive, Sergey Frank was recently quoted by news agency TASS, forecasting that the shipping company’s total NSR oil shipments in 2018 would reach 12 mill. t. Meanwhile, the Russian Ministry of Transport still forecasts NSR volumes by 2020 will reach 65 mill. t per year. While the Yamal LNG carriers are intended to operate unassisted from July to December, converting overall NSR traffc projections into reality will rely on icebreaker support, along a route where average ice thickness exceeds 1.6 m from December to June. Today, requirements are mostly served by four Arktika-class nuclear icebreakers, the newest of which is the »50 Let Pobedy«, completed in 2007. The others, »Yamal«, »Sovetskiy Soyuz« and »Rossiya«, date from 1993, 1990 and 1985 respectively. The need for fresh icebreaking tonnage is therefore becoming acute. Dmitry Fishkin, Deputy Director of the Department for the Development of Interregional and Cross-Border Cooperation of the Economic Development Ministry, has suggested that the need will be urgent by 2021, as NSR oil and gas volumes ramp up. In fact, three new icebreakers are under construction at United Shipbuilding Corp, with delivery now due one apiece in 2019, 2020 and 2021. The LK-60Ya- Russias maritime industry enjoys significant support from the government in Moscow. Recently CEO Sergey Frank met Prime Minister Dimitri Medvedev Photo: Sovcomflot 28 HANSA International Maritime Journal – 154. Jahrgang – 2017 – Nr. 9

Schifffahrt | Shipping Source: Total 15 days Northern Sea Route Icebreaking LNG carriers 30 days Southern Sea Route class nuclear-powered vessels will be able to cut through 2.8 m-thick ice. Two more vessels of the same type are already planned, as well as a LK-110Ya »Leader-class« vessel to break winter ice up to 4.3 m, and 2.5 m-thick ice continuously at 10 kn. At a recent meeting with Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, Sovcomflots CEO Sergey Frank called for the Russian government to continue its drive to improve navigational safety measures on the NSR and for a ban on substandard ships and crews sailing in the environmentally sensitive region. He stressed the necessity of taking additional measures to ensure navigation safety along the NSR given the significant growth of freight traffc in that area. Sovcomflot said in a statement that in 2018, just the 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 mill. t of freight alone, almost doubling the Soviet-era NSR peak record of 6.6 mill. t in 1987.« »On behalf of the maritime community«, Frank expressed a 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 traffc. 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. STAR-CCM+: Discover better designs, faster. Freedom to innovate - Apply CFD at full scale under real operating conditions. HANSA International Maritime Journal – 154. Jahrgang – 2017 – Nr. 9 29

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