SOVCOMFLOT CALLS FOR IMPROVED SAFETY ON THE NORTHERN SEA ROUTE
President and CEO of SCF Group (Sovcomflot) Sergey Frank stressed the necessity of taking additional measures to ensure navigation safety along the NSR given the significant growth of freight traffic in that area. In 2018, just the two energy projects in the Gulf of Ob (Novy Port and Yamal LNG), both served by SCF vessels, are expected to generate around 11.5 million tonnes of freight alone, almost doubling the Soviet-era NSR peak record of 6.6 million tonnes in 1987. SCF shuttle tankers has commenced year-round oil shipments from Novy Port for the first time as recently as September 2016, and Yamal LNG is expected to come onstream in late 2017.
On behalf of the maritime community, Sergey Frank has expressed a hope that the Russian government will maintain the rate at which NSR infrastructure is being improved to ensure that the existing navigation safety measures remain adequate to the needs of the growing vessel traffic. This includes consistently developing the navigational and hydrographic support system, boosting the readiness of rescue services, and improving the reliability of navigational and communications aids.
During the first half of 2017 alone, Sovcomflot vessels safely transported 17 million tonnes of crude oil from the Russian Arctic and the Russian Far East to consumers, applying technical and operational solutions that seemed impossible only a few years ago.
As a responsible shipping leader, Sovcomflot pioneers the switch to LNG as a primary fuel for Aframax tankers. This year, the company has placed an order for a series of the first-ever Aframaxes purpose-designed to be run on LNG. These new-generation tankers are scheduled for delivery beginning in 2018. Each 114,000-dwt tanker will have an ice class sufficient to ensure a safe year-round transportation of crude oil from regions with challenging ice conditions, including subarctic seas. (Source and image: Sovcomflot / Mikhail Ulyanov shuttle tanker)