The law, which lays down regulations on shipping along the increasingly popular Arctic route, states that the route in the west officially stretches from the eastern coast of the Novaya Zemlya, the Kara Gate and the straits between the mainland and the island of Vaigach. In the east, the route includes the areas from the Russian-U.S. sea border and the latitude of the Cape Dezhnev, the easternmost point on Russian territory, RIA Novosti reports.
The regulations, consequently, do not include the Barents Sea and the Pechora Sea, both of them waters, which are expected a hike in shipping and industrial activities over the next years. Both Murmansk and Arkhangelsk, Russia’s two main Arctic cities, are located outside the new definition of the Northern Sea Route territory.
The new law, which was adopted by the State Duma in a third reading Tuesday, will come into force in 2013.
Among the rules for vessels operating in the area are new insurance requirements, which are to enhance ship owners’ responsibility for possible environmental damage and pollution. The law also outlines the level of shipping fees, although not very concretely, saying that the rates on icebreaker assistance will be provided based on the “extent of the services offered”.
Included in the law is also the establishment of a new Northern Sea Route administration, which is to manage icebreaker and sailing master services, as well as provide radio communication and hydrographic information, organize search and rescue operations and prepare preparedness meaures on emergency situations. According to Bellona.ru, the Russian Finance Ministry is allocating 27 million RUB (€660.000) for the new administration.
The new law is a long-awaited and much-needed piece of legislation. However, critics say that it insufficiently addresses the environmental challenges in the vulnerable area. According to Igor Kudrik from the Bellona Foundation, a major oil spill in the remote area will have huge environmental consequences for nature, and financial consequences for the shipping company. “If the shipping operators are to bear all costs related to spills, the route might ultimately not be so popular, after all”, he says.
Russia’s only aircraft carrier, the Northern Fleet’s “Admiral Kuznetsov”, has finished repairs and is ready to leave the port of Murmansk. According to a Russian news agency, the vessel will sail to Syria.
A century and a half ago, Norway was home to roughly three thousand brown bears, the majority of bears in all of Scandinavia. By 1930, the bears were virtually extinct. Decades of aggressive management tactics and bounties had wiped out one of the area’s most iconic species.
Microplastics, the tiny plastic particles that are accumulating in marine waters and big lakes around the world, are now showing up in the Arctic waters south and southwest of Svalbard, Norway, a new study says.
REYKJAVIK: The climatic changes taking place in the Arctic are a call to action for the world. We must answer with more international cooperation and more research, says Tore Hattrem, State Secretary of Norway’s Foreign Ministry.
“Partnership should and shall shape the development of the Arctic, therefore cooperation is the starting point for our Arctic policy,” Vladimir Barbin, Senior Arctic Official and representative to the Arctic Council, said at the Arctic Circle 2015 assembly.
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.
Norway’s Foreign Minister Børge Brende has asked Russia for an explanation to the high number of asylum seekers coming to Norway via Russia. Syrian refugees that have lived in Russia for a long time, will be stopped on the border and sent back.