The new headquarters for the Northern Sea Route (NSR) will open in Moscow on January 28 2013. A representative office may be opened in Arkhangelsk later.
“The draft bill is ready and is now being approved by federal agencies. It states clearly that the office will be located in Moscow”, Deputy Minister of Transport Victor Olersky said accoring to RIA Novosti. “The document also suggests that a branch might be opened in Arkhangelsk, since significant departments like the Hydrographic Enterprise is based there”.
Moscow was chosen as host town for the NSR administration office so that no other region “would feel offended”, the deputy minister said. Murmansk and Arkhangelsk have for years been hoping that the office would be located there. Governor of Arkhangelsk Igor Orlov only four days before Olersky’s announcement said that Arkhangelsk was ready to open a NSR office that would handle all practical tasks connected to traffic on the route – applications to use the route, coordination with the Agency on Hydrometeorology and Environmental Monitoring, use of Arctic aviation and so on.
Another reason to choose Moscow before any Arctic town is that there is where the Ministry of Emergency Situations, emergency rescue services and the Agency for Hydrometeorology and Environmental Monitoring are located, Olersky said.
The Northern Sea Route is becoming a more and more important route for transportation of cargo between Europe and Asia. 2012 was a record season both in relation to the amount of cargo and the number of vessels. 46 vessels sailed the route in 2012, compared to 34 in 2011 and only four in 2010.
The total cargo transported on the NSR last year was 1 261 545 tons – a 53 percent increase from 2011, when 820 789 tons was shipped on the route.
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TROMSØ: Since the first five specimens of snow crab were found in the Barents Sea in 1996, the population has exploded. There is now ten times as much snow crab than king crab in the area, and scientists are just starting to find out how this new species has adopted to life in the Barents Sea.
The current situation in Ukraine makes cross-border cooperation with the neighboring countries even more important, Barents Secretariat leader Rune Rafaelsen says. At the same time, Norway has joined NATO’s condemnation of Russia’s military escalation on the Crimea peninsula.
Board member Amund Trellevik in the press network fears entry-denial of Kremlin’s controversial propaganda-journalist Dmitry Kiselyov could be retaliated by refusing Norwegian journalists access to Russia.