The new center will have responsibility for logistical and administrative support to all the Northern Fleet’s naval bases, garrisons and technical facilities.
The Center for Material and Technical Support (Tsentr MTOSF) includes the Northern Fleet’s unit of supply vessels, engineering and vehicle support units, maintenance facilities, technical supply bases, fuel storage depots and other units in the Murmansk and Arkhangelsk regions.
The center will operate some 150 different supply and support vessels and more than 1200 unities of different vehicles and other special equipment.
The new organization will have a total of more than 15 000 men and women. 3000 of them will be enlisted personnel and 12 000 will be civilians and paramilitary security staff, Northern Fleet spokesman Vadim Serga says in a press release.
Operational changes The Northern Fleet is Russia’s largest and most powerful navy. The fleet is in a period where several measures are being taken to streamline command and operations. Earlier this week the BarentsObserver reported that the 200. independent motorized infantry brigade in Pechenga, only a few kilometers from the border to Norway, will become part of the Northern Fleet from December 2013. This means a huge strengthening of the fleet’s land-based capacities.
In October this year then Minister of Defense Anatoly Serdyukov ordered that the fleet’s command staff should be cut from 200 to 70 officers already by the end of the year. Commanding departments responsible for operations, communications and other areas were to be significantly reduced and corresponding departments established at the Western Military District’s headquarters in Saint-Petersburg. After the dramatic news in Izvesita there has been no more information about command staff reductions. Serdyukov was dismissed in the beginning of November after his ministry was caught up in a grand-scaled corruption scandal.
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.
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.