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2019 July 29

See the bottom and survive

Without normal flood on the Oka river, it has gone low and unnavigable that resulted in cancellation of voyages and some companies’ losses. Representatives of the shipping community blame the Moscow Canal for not performing dredging at the appropriate time while the Canal representatives say that dredging is underway. The situation is aggravated by an incident in Tushino and suspension of works on the Beloomut hydraulic engineering system.

In isolation

The flood level in April 2019 was considerably lower as compared with the many year’s one. The low water season began earlier than usually. The water level on the Oka river was low from the beginning of the navigation season.

As Konstantin Anisimov, Prorector of Russian Transport University, Vice-President of the Russian Chamber of Shipping, told IAA PortNews, “the Oka river has seen no flood this year as it used to see in the previous years and it had gone low. The works on reconstruction of the Beloomut hydraulic engineering system near Kolomna have been suspended. The Moscow Canal did not involve its dredging ships to begin dredging at the appropriate time. In the result, the depth at some parts of the Oka river is 1.5-1.55 with the required minimum of 1.7-1.8 m. This situation has a negative impact on the activities of some companies, like Mosturflot, Southern River Port, Port Kolomna...”.

According to Konstantin Anisimov, Mosturflot had to undertake cold lay-up of M/V Sergey Obraztsov of Project 305, the only one used to operate on the Oka river during this season.

Vladimir Alekseyev, General Director of Port Kolomna told IAA PortNews that the emergency situation near the Tushino tunnel and low water level on the Oka cut the company off the IWW from two sides. 

“The problem in Tushino has not been solved. There was the only way on the Oka but it has gone low. There is no regular shipping, we operate beyond the isolated sector and within it”, said the head of the company.

Vladimir Alekseyev earlier said the loss caused by termination of traffic on the Moscow Canal in Tushino was estimated at about RUB 3 million per day.

The reconstruction of the Beloomut hydraulic engineering system has not been completed. Moscow Canal earlier expected it to be completed in the first quarter of 2019 but the delay was caused by some problems of the general contractor.

According to the comments provided to IAA PortNews by the Moscow Canal administration, dredging works are underway at the shallow sectors.

“Three units (one multibucket dredger and two suction dredgers) have been in operation in Serpukhov from April 22. The scope of dredging performed so far is 245,240 cbm.  Three dredgers (one multibucket and two suction ones) have been working in Ryazan from May 10 with the scope of dredging performed as high as 480,300 cbm. Three units (one multibucket dredger and two suction dredgers) have been conducting dredging works in Murom from June 30.  The scope of dredging performed so far is 96,335 cbm”, says Moscow Canal.

As of the end of July 2019, the level of the Oka river in Ryazan is 1 meter below the designed level of 91.71 m, in Kasimov and Kashira – 0.5 m versus the designed levels of 81.84 and 101.62 accordingly.

There is nothing to do but to hope that those responsible will make adequate conclusions and prevent the isolation of shipping in problem areas by the next season.

Vitaly Chernov