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Principle of rendering icebreaking services on contractual basis on the Northern Sea Route shipping lanes already works

Principle of rendering icebreaking services on contractual basis on the Northern Sea Route shipping lanes already works and is the most expedient and proved in current economic situation. This opinion was expressed today during the International conference “The Northern Sea Route: Strategy and Revival Prospects” by Gennady Kuzmin, deputy General director of FSUE “Rosmorport”. He specified that transition to contractual payment terms of icebreaking dues on the Northern Sea Route took place in 2007, initiated by cargo owners (MMC Norilsk Nickel, OAO “RITEK”), as well as icebreakers owners, FSUE “Atomflot” in particular.

The speaker reminded that earlier existing order of collection dues (the order of Federal Tariff Service from 7/26/2005 № 322) was established when OAO “Murmansk Shipping Company” was the only one operator of icebreaking fleet. However transfer of icebreakers on 8/28/2008 by shipping company to FSUE “Atomflot” and FSUE “Rosmorport”, and presence in the basin since 2007 of ship-owners (MMC Norilsk Nickel, OAO “LUKOIL”, OAO “Sovcomflot”), possessing both icebreaking fleet, and essentially new generation of transport fleet of an ice class not low than Ark5, do not allow to use the tariffs application mechanism established by the given order.

Besides, Norilsk Nickel company, after commissioning of own bulk ships with the ice class Ark7, equipped with “Azipod” engines, put into question payments of icebreaking due in the absence of icebreaking pilotage, i.e. during free icebreaking navigation and navigation of icebreakers in clear water. After the claim of Norilsk Nickel to the arbitration court and legal investigation, the court refused the payment of icebreaking dues to Murmansk Shipping Company, because “if there is no service—there is no payment”.

The position of FSUE “Rosmorport” is the following: return to tariff payments is possible under condition of single icebreaking fleet operator in Arctic regions, nominated as addressee of icebreaking dues payments. In this case, icebreakers owners should rent their icebreakers to the operator on a contractual price, under condition of indemnification of diesel icebreakers operational costs and indemnification of nuclear icebreakers operational costs, excluding expenses on nuclear fuel (supply, recharge, storage, transportation). These expenses are compensated now from the state budget.

In future, Gennady Kuzmin noted, it is possible to assume growth of transportation volumes in Arctic regions in the course of development oil and gas deposits in the southwest part of Barents Sea and on Yamal peninsula and hydrocarbonic raw materials export by sea fleet. Only after transportations volumes increase to 10 million tons a year probably formation of tariffs by a principle of an overall cost is possible without considerable transport expenses, which can lead economic activity in Arctic regions to unprofitableness, hence, to its reduction.