Sovcomflot calls for enhanced safety measures along the NSR

Jul 14 2017

SCF Group (Sovcomflot) has called upon the Russian Government to continue its drive to improve navigational safety measures on the Northern Sea Route (NSR) and for a ban on substandard ships and crews sailing in the environmentally sensitive region.

The move follows the significant shipping traffic growth reported along the NSR and further projected growth.

During a meeting, held on 10th July with the Russian Prime Minister, Dmitry Medvedev, SCF President and CEO, Sergey 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.

In 2018, 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 tonnes of freight alone, almost doubling the Soviet-era NSR peak of 6.6 mill tonnes recorded in 1987.

SCF shuttle tankers started year-round oil shipments from Novy Port as recently as September, 2016, and Yamal LNG is expected to come on stream later this year.

Frank expressed the 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. These include consistently developing the navigational and hydrographic support system, boosting the readiness of rescue services and improving the reliability of navigational and communications aids.

In turn, Medvedev assured Frank that the government will meet all its commitments pertaining to developing the NSR infrastructure.

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

at the end of 2Q17, over 200 mill tonnes of crude oil and more than 16 mill tonnes of liquefied natural gas were safely 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 this year, SCF vessels shipped 17 mill tonnes of crude oil from the Russian Arctic and the Russian Far East to consumers, applying technical and operational solutions that seemed impossible only a few years ago.

The environmental agenda, one of SCF’s top priorities, was also discussed prominently during the meeting. Frank said that given the vulnerability of the Arctic ecosystem, sub-standard vessels and vessels manned by inexperienced and poorly qualified crews should be banned from Arctic operations.  

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