Development of the Northeast Passage becomes a problem for Moscow | Polarjournal
The icebreaker “50 Years of Victory” escorts a ship through icy areas along the Northern Sea Route. (Photo: Rosatomflot)

The development of the Northern Sea Route is becoming a key priority for the government in Moscow in light of the sanctions against Russia, with cargo traffic still heading west despite the sanctions. The clientele, which has not taken sanctions, is almost exclusively in the East. China, as the main consumer of natural gas and coal, is only directly connected to production facilities in Russia by a gas pipeline (Power of Siberia). This leaves only delivery via the Northeast Passage, which cannot always be reliably navigated in winter.

The nuclear icebreaker “Taymyr” during a mission in the Arctic coastal region. The icebreaker, which has been in service since 1989, is mainly used for pilotage in the mouths of Siberian rivers. (Photo: Rosatomflot)

“Due to the pressure of sanctions, the future of the Northern Sea Route is becoming a key national priority. The Northeast Passage is a reliable and safe transport corridor within Russia’s territorial waters and exclusive economic zone,” Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin said at a government meeting. “The sea route can be used for alternative routes and exports to friendly countries.”

Mikhail Mishustin, maintaining the Northeast Passage eastward should be a particular challenge for the prime minister.

Mishustin added that Rosatom was responsible for NSR navigation. “The President has directed the government to amend legislation to centralize authority to manage the Northern Sea Route. Rosatom State Corporation, the owner of our national icebreaker fleet, will oversee the management of NSR navigation,” the Prime Minister noted.

The government will also discuss ways to increase the efficiency of government spending on the construction of river and sea vessels of all types.

“The sector strategy includes ambitious goals, which means that Russian shipyards will work hard in the coming years, including building our Arctic fleet and maintaining serial production of powerful nuclear icebreakers for year-round navigation along the Northern Sea Route,” Mikhail Mishustin said.

Heiner Kubny, PolarJournal

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