The vessel, which has been lying idle in the Atomflot base outside Murmansk for years, was on 31 July this year taken out of the Russian Ship Register. The unique ship will end up a scrap metal, experts in Murmansk confirm.
The “Sevmorput”, which in the 1990s experienced major problems in international shipping following port restrictions, was used mainly on the route between Murmansk and Dudinka, the main port on the Yenisey River. In a bid to get the ship back in active service, the Murmansk Shipping Company in 2007 proposed to rebuild it into an oil drilling vessel. That initiative, however, stranded as the federal nuclear power company Rosatom took over the responsibility of the icebreaker fleet in 2008.
In 2009, Atomflot General Director Vyacheslav Ruksha himself admitted that the “Sevmorput” has no work, and that the fate of the ship is sealed. “If the situation lasts into 2010, the ship will be turned into needles”, he told B-port.ru.
The vessel, built at the Zaliv yard in Kerch, Ukraine, was a unique contribution to the Soviet fleet of civilian nuclear vessels when entering service in 1988. Until then, the world had seen only three other nuclear powered civilian merchant ships, all of which ended up as failed experimental vessels. The 260 meter long and 61.000 ton deadweight “Sevmorput” was to show that the Soviet Union could extend its nuclear power capacities also into merchant shipping. The ship was built in a period of booming shipping in Soviet Arctic waters.
The “Sevmorput”, which also has powerful icebreaking capacities, for several years shipped in both international and Russian domestic waters. However, shipping along the Russian Northern Sea Route declined dramatically in the 1990s and the ship was soon blocked access to most international ports.
Russia plans to resume testing of the submarine-launched ballistic missile Bulava this summer. The country’s two newest strategic nuclear-powered submarines will start trials as soon as the ice conditions in the White Sea will allow.
MURMANSK: Ecological groups gathered on Kola Peninsula fear that Barents nature will be the looser after Oslo decided to call off the environmental minister’s Moscow meeting in response to Russia’s annexation of Crimea.
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.
More than 900 reindeer die of hunger on the Russian Arctic island of Kolguyev following a critical lack of available local pasturelands. The reindeer stocks in the area are too badly managed, regional authorities admit.
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.