Marine Rescue Service considers it reasonable to establish in Russia a single operator of marine rescue fleet including rescue ships of Rosrybolovstvo (Russian Federal Fisheries Agency) and some ships of the Emergency Situations Ministry. MRS believes that will let reduce the costs and enhance flexibility of rescue operations. Rosrybolovstvo does not support the idea.
Rescue the rescuers
State Marine Rescue Service of Federal Marine and River Transport Agency (Rosmorrechflot) considers it reasonable to establish a single operator of marine rescue fleet, Andrey Khaustov, Acting Head of the Service, has recently told journalists.
According to him, the issue of handing over rescue ships of Rosrybolovstvo under the management of MRC (16 ships including 4 operational ones) and some ESM ships has been under discussion for a long time.
As of today, the fleet of MRS numbers 317 ships including 100 rescue ships with budget finncing of about RUB 500 million while budget allocations for maintenance of Rosrybolovstvo’s rescue ships is RUB 600 million. Marine Rescue Service covers its costs through other activities, primarily participation in shelf projects.
Andrey Khaustov says it is MRS that responds to more than a half of emergency situations involving fishing ships.
As press center of Rosrybolovstvo told IAA PortNews, the issue of handling over rescue forces of the federal agency to the Ministry of Transport was discussed in 2017-2018.
“That transition was recognized to be unreasonable since RF Ministry of Transport cannot ensure permanent presence of ad hoc rescue ships close to fishing ships in fishing areas or ensure safety supervision. That was strongly supported by a fishery community”, said Rosrybolovstvo.
As an example of the need to have rescue ships close to fishing ones the Fisheries Agency mentioned the recent operation on rescue of the Peotr Zhitnikov floating factory. A rescue ship of Rosrybolovstvo arrived to the ship on fire one day before a ship of MRS sent from the port of Korsakov. The firefighting and the shipboard damage control operation was performed by the rescuers.
In his turn, Andrey Khaustov believes that the merger of Rosrybolovstvo’s rescue fleet into that of MRS will not worsen the fishers life saving situation. On the contrary, more advanced and multifunctional ships will be available for rescue operations.
“We are even ready to sign an agreement on providing services at prices of Rosrybolovstvo”, said the head of MRS.
He also emphasized that the both MRS and Rosrybolovstvo vessels responded to the emergency situation on the Peotr Zhitnikov.
“We responded to the emergency with our joint efforts. Their rescue ship came from Vladivostok to extinguish the fire ... However, I suppose that in case of sinking they would be only able to take people out of the water – that’s all. This points to the fact that financing provided to Rosrybolovstvo for these purposes is not sufficient even for their small fleet. Anyway, there are expenses for management, repair, anchorage, supplies, training, etc. While at the anchorage alone the ship consumes 60 tonnes of fuel per month and this figure multiplies while in the sea, - said Andrey Khaustov. – Therefore, we are for consolidation of efforts in case of a positive merger decision. And we discussed that with the Emergencies Ministry. With the unified rescue service the administrative personnel can be reduced and the fleet distribution among basins can be more reasonable. The efficiency for the state will be much higher.”
When speaking about ESM ships that can be handed over to MRS, Andrey Khaustov mentioned the Ministry’s former fleet for special underwater works, which, in his opinion, requires repair and is almost out of operation.
Rosrybolovstvo said in its turn that repair works supervised by the Russian Maritime Register of Shipping cover five rescue ships. Upon its completion, eight rescue ships will be involved in duty operations including four vessels in the Far East basin, three – in the Northern basin and on vessel in the Azov-Black Sea Basin basin.
In many countries, rescue operations in the sea is the responsibility of the coast guard which combines he functions of armed border guard and rescue service. Such a unification has both advantages (optimization of state expenses as well as unified management and responsibilities) and disadvantages (absence of specialized ships and simultaneous responsibility for numerous tasks).