Nuclear container ship Sevmorput sails on domestic voyage to Russian Far East

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The nuclear container ship Sevmorput left on its first subsidized domestic voyage this year during the fourth week of June from St. Petersburg along the route comprising Vostochny port (Nakhodka) – Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky – Murmansk, according to a statement by the Russian state atomic energy corporation Rosatom.  

Sevmorput, operated by the Rosatom subsidiary Atomflot, is undertaking the voyage as part of the federal project “Development of the Northern Sea Route (NSR) under the Comprehensive Plan for Modernization and Expansion of the Main Infrastructure,” the statement said.  

“The ship’s crew has a task to deliver more than a hundred containers, metal structures, lumber, cranes and vehicles to the Far East,” it added.  

“The ship is loaded up to 90 percent of its capacity. The voyage to Vostochny port is planned to take about 22 days. The cargo preparations for the ship’s return voyage are underway. In autumn, the nuclear-powered container ship will make another round trip between the North-West and the Far East. Now the voyages are subsidized from the federal budget, but it is essential to ensure the cost-effectiveness of cargo carriage in the future,” Vyacheslav Ruksha, Deputy Director General of Rosatom, said in a statement.  

Rosatom operates nuclear powered icebreakers that help keep the NSR open for navigation. In addition, Rosatom is equipping the NSR facilities, building port infrastructure, and developing transit.   

The Northern Sea Route via the Arctic is the shortest route between East Asian and Western European ports. Russia’s Far East and Arctic region have a great export potential due to the proximity of such countries as China, India, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Myanmar, among others.      

“The increase of the NSR traffic and organization of regular container ship voyages help reduce logistics costs. This will reduce both the cost and cargo delivery time in both directions. The cargo owners have a chance to deliver their goods at the price of the cargo carriage, the nuclear container ship charter is free,” said Gadzhimagomed Huseynov, First Deputy of Russia’s Ministry for the Development of the Far East. 

“In addition to this one, two more voyages will be undertaken in 2023 by the Sevmorput nuclear container ship in October-November, and by a vessel under a charter agreement,” he added.  

The statement also said that during the voyage, specialists from the Marine Research Center of Lomonosov Moscow State University will carry out their observations onboard the vessel. The scientists will observe marine mammals and birds, and take continuous measurements of water salinity and temperature along the entire route.  

“For the first time, the scientists will install three video cameras with a view of at least 180 degrees in the bow of the vessel to obtain continuous video and photo capturing of the environment along the route. The video and photographic materials will be further processed by expert zoologists, and then adapted for neural network training in order to develop a service for automated identification of marine mammals and birds,” the statement said.  

In October last year, Sevmorput had sailed the entire water area of the Northern Sea Route in the Arctic Ocean from St. Petersburg to Vostochny port in Russia’s Far East in a 20-day journey, carrying cargo that included crane components, oversize cargo and watercraft.  Sevmorput made this journey to Vostochny, located in the Nakhodka Gulf of the Sea of Japan, without any icebreaker escort.