- The federal targeted programme Socioeconomic Development of the Kurile Islands, 2016-2025, provides in particular for implementation of the following activity: Development of the freight and passenger sea links between the islands of the Kuril Archipelago, the Sakhalin and the mainland. This activity implies the construction of several cargo-and-passenger ships in 2016 – 2025, for 250 passengers (two ships for 50 passengers each in 2018-2019 and in 2022, one ship for 150 passengers in 2025). Designing and construction of the first passenger ship is to be financed by the federal budget (RUB 1.371 bln), the next two ships - by the region (RUB 1.170 bln and RUB 1.820 bln accordingly).
The vessel of the first type is intended for replacing the Gipanis which currently operates at Kamchatka-Paramushir line (38 passengers, built in 1992).
The second one is to replace the Igor Farhutdinov which operates at Korsakov-Kunashir, Shikotan, Iturup line (140 passengers, built in 1991). Apart from the Igor Farhutdinov, the line is currently serviced by the Polaris (38 passengers, built in 1968).
New ships are to have a high ice class and unrestricted navigation (to exclude dependence on weather and ice conditions). Sleeping accommodation and adequate stock will be provided due to possible delays caused by weather and/or ice conditions. On their cargo deck and in holds the vessels will carry general cargo, containers and vehicles. There will be a possibility of offshore transshipment of cargo to lighters by on-board crane.
The task set is very significant and urgent for the Kurile Islands – transport accessibility of the islands fully depends on air and maritime transport. Amid bad weather and mists, sea transportation of passengers and essential cargoes is the only alternative.
Comment provided to IAA PortNews.