Transport Ministry to optimize access of low ice class vessels to transit the NSR
The Russian Ministry of Transport plans to optimize the access to the Northern Sea Route of vessels built to low ice class. The Federal website for draft regulatory instruments reports that it is planned to make changes to the Navigation Rules in the basin of the Northern Sea Route and approved by Order of the Ministry of Transport of Russia No. 7, dated January 17, 2013.
The current rules designate ice conditions types for seven major areas of the Northern Sea Route. A large area of the NSR: various ice conditions varying from very consolidated pack ice to open pack ice and areas of open floating ice and open water. The averaged value of ice conditions within a large area does not allow vessels to access large area with prevailing scattered ice, open water. Vessels with low ice notation banned from entering the NSR areas with favorable ice conditions entails an increase in cargo delivery time by mixed river-sea type vessels, reduces the time for geological exploration on the NSR shelf, affect the operation of transport vessels in the seaports along the NSR with year-round navigation (Port of Sabetta).
The changes will help extend navigation season along the Northern Sea Route for vessels with low ice class and optimize deployment of icebreakers along the shipping route, choosing areas with adverse ice conditions and ensuring smooth navigation in areas with open water and favorable ice conditions.