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Vessels with cargo for Chukotka stuck in the ice of the Kara Sea

Vessels with cargo for Chukotka stuck in the ice of the Kara Sea
Photo: JSC "SMP"

In the Kara Sea, ships are drifting carrying cargoes of socially important for the Chukotka Autonomous Okrug. The organizer of the shipment requested priority icebreaker assistance, but this was denied.

In the letter of A.A. Trofimov, General Director of AS SHIPPING LLC. Plenipotentiary Representative of the President of the Far Eastern Federal District Trutnev Yu.P. (available from EastRussia) it says that FSUE Atomflot refuses icebreaker assistance to ships heading to Pevek that deliver cargoes of social importance for the Chukotka Autonomous Okrug, including those intended for the implementation of important infrastructure projects in the region. 

The ships "Engineer Trubin" and "Yamal Irbis" have been awaiting icebreaker assistance in the Kara Sea for more than 9 days. On board they carry 19 thousand tons of cargo required for the overhaul of the runway at Pevek airport, which was planned to be completed last year, but due to the pandemic, the dates have been postponed. In addition, materials and equipment for the construction of the Pevek-Bilibino power transmission line, the shift camp of Elkonsky MMC JSC, the construction of bridge crossings as part of the construction of the Omsukchan - Omolon - Magadan road, equipment for floating nuclear power plants and many other clients region.

To its inquiry to FSUE Atomflot, AS Shipping received the answer “that there is no technical capability to provide icebreaker support services, due to the employment of nuclear icebreakers under other contracts with companies such as PJSC MMC Norilsk Nickel”, PJSC Novatek and PJSC Gazpromneft (quoted from Trofimov's letter to A.A. Trutnev Yu.P.).

As EastRussia was told in the carrier's Novosibirsk office, the critical situation was largely due to the suddenly changed ice situation. 

“In recent years, ice conditions in late October and early November have allowed active navigation along the long Russian Arctic coast. However, this year, by the end of October, most of the Arctic waters are already covered with sea ice, - said the logistic manager of A-Service LLC (part of the AS Group group of companies) Ulyana Khrestova, - except for vessels already drifting in the Kara Sea on In the city roadstead in Arkhangelsk there are m / v "Tiksi" and "Tambey". The Tiksi vessel is also loaded with food and is awaiting an order from Rostatomflot to go to the consolidation point in the Kara Sea for ice escort. If it is not available in the near future, the ship will have to be unloaded and the consignors must be announced that their cargo will not be delivered. "

In response to EastRussia's request to Atomflot, the refusal to wire the Engineer Trubin and Yamal Irbis is confirmed. The refusal was based on two factors. 

“First, the safety of navigation. At present, an active process of ice formation continues in the water area of ​​the Northern Sea Route. Ice conditions do not allow to provide escort of ships in caravans from west to east. Only towed icebreaker assistance is possible. Secondly, nuclear icebreakers operate under previously concluded long-term contracts, "says Atomflot's letter to EastRussia.

As EastRussia was informed in the Chukotka government, the Tiksi motor ship, as well as two more ships, Yuri Arshenevsky and Tambey, will still receive icebreaker escort. On November 16, the nuclear-powered icebreaker Yamal left Murmansk for them. The issue of wiring "Engineer Trubin" and "Yamal Irbis" remains open.

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