Talking at the international conference on Logistics in the Arctic, recently held in Murmansk, Mikhail Grigoriev claimed that new platforms built for operations in the Russian Arctic are insufficently well built.
According to Grigoriev, an expert working for the science unit under the Russian Security Council, the two platforms built for the Shtokman project – the ”Severnoye Siyanie” and the ”Polyarnaya Zvezda”, alone have about 700 flaws registered. The rigs, which formally were taken over by Gazprom-subsidiary Gazflot in 2011, are now based in the Far East. ”When and how the flaws are to be eliminated, is incomprehensible,” Rossiiskaya Gazeta quotes Grigoriev as saying. He believes the situation with the rigs is made more complicated with the continued postponments of the Shtokman project.
Grigoriev also voices concern about the quickly growing shipping along the Northern Sea Route. If an oil spill takes place half-way on the route, it might take up to five days for emergency and rescue vessels to get to the site, he maintains. Currently, there are suitable emergency vessels based only in Murmansk, he adds.
The worries of Mr Grigoriev echo the conclusions made in a 2011 Lloyd’s report. Charles Emmerson, one of the authors of the report, told BarentsObserver that “if something goes wrong in the north it will impact not just one company - but an entire industry. If development is to happen sustainably, all companies have to do this right, and demonstrating this day in and day out.”
Russia does however have plans for how to cope with the situation. As previously reported, more than €23 million are over the next few years to be invested in the development of ten emergency rescue centers along the route. A total of 980 persons will be working at the centers, which are to be ready for operation by 2015. The first center will open in August 2012 in Dudinka. Anothern three centers will be located on Chukotka and Anadyr. The remaining centers will be located in Murmansk, Arkhangelsk, Naryan-Mar, Vorkuta, Nadym and Tiksi.
The volumes of cargo shipped transit along the Arctic route from 2010 to 2011 increased from 111.000 tons to 835.000 tons. In 2012, volumes are expected to increase to more than 1,5 million tons.
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.