With increased traffic on the Northern Sea Route comes the need for more onshore safety infrastructure. Russia in 2009 allocated 910 million rubles (app €20.6 million) to construction of ten search and rescue (SAR) centers from Murmansk in the west to Provideniya in the East. All centers are planned to be operational by 2015.
The first of the new SAR centers was officially opened in Naryan-Mar in August 2013.
The Arctic search and rescue center in Murmansk will have as its main objective to prevent and react on emergency situations and accidents in Russia’s subarctic territories, including the Barents Sea and on the Northern Sea Route, as well as in the border areas to neighboring countries.
The Russian Arctic has plenty of potentially dangerous objects like nuclear power plants, nuclear-powered icebreakers and naval vessels, chemical, explosive and flammable objects and oil reloading installments. Only in Murmansk Oblast there are 183 potentially dangerous objects, Head of EMERCOM Murmansk Major General Vladimir Gusev says to the organ’s web site. The increased traffic on the Northern Sea Route is also creating demand for a more developed SAR infrastructure on land, he adds.
The center will work on a 24-hour schedule and have 83 employees specializing in search and rescue operations in mountains, on sea and land. It will be equipped with modern rescue equipment including different vehicles, off-road vehicles, snow mobiles, vessels and hovercrafts.
The first stage of the SAR center is planned to be opened on November 30 2014. The next stage still needs more planning and funding, as it includes construction of new quays for the center’s vessels, as well as a large training center for its employees.
The Barents Region has some of the last largest areas of intact natural woodlands in Europe. Scientists, bureaucrats and environmentalists from all four Barents countries cooperate on preserving the forest, but an international initiative is needed.
August 9th, the Barents Region celebrated the UN International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples. The day was commemorated in several parts of the region, including Karasjok in Northern Norway and Teriberka in Northwestern Russia.