Yury Mikhov, General Director of FSUE Hydrographic Company which fell under authority of Rosatom prior to beginning of 2019 navigation season, tells about operation on the Northern Sea Route in his interview with IAA PortNews.
— Mr Mikhov, what is your opinion about operation in challenging navigation season of 2019 when Hydrographic Company was performing its normal works and also executing new functions received because of transition to Rosatom?
— That was a challenging year full of landmark events. According to the Presidential Order, Hydrographic Company responsible for hydrographic support of navigation in the Northern Sea Route waters was handed over from the RF Transport Ministry’s Federal Marine and River Transport Agency to Rosatom on 20 March 2019.
Our activities earlier covering the Northern Sea Route waters including the Khatanga, Yenisey and Kolyma rivers have been expanded to include the water areas of seaports and approaches to them. Besides, we took over the functions on development and maintenance of the NSR infrastructure.
By today, we have taken over from FSUE Rosmorport 82 units of navigation equipment of Sabetta seaport as well as the functions of a state customer on signing state contracts for dredging in the Gulf of Ob, at the Utrenny terminal. In 2019, maintenance dredging at the access canal to Sabetta was performed by FSUE Rosmorport. Next year such works will be conducted by our company in compliance the Decree of RF Transport Ministry dated 3 July 2019 entitling Hydrographic Company to collect port dues in Sabetta, Dudinka and Pevek. They cover canal, navigation, light and icebreaker dues.
Moreover, our specialists take part in open water testing of aids to navigation at the Utrenny terminal. Those facilities will be put on the company’s books this year. We are ready for their year-round operation.
Looking back to the recent navigation season I would like to emphasize that all tasks on hydrographic support and safe navigation in the Northern Sea Route set for Hydrographic Company have been fulfilled in time and in full.
— The key service that have always been provided by Hydrographic Company is the bottom charting. What are this season results?
— The bottom charting works were performed by Hydrographic Company specialists in the interest of two customers: Federal Marine and River Transport Agency and Atomflot. Our works covered 45,500 virtual kilometers which is a record high result versus an average result of 30,000-32,000 virtual kilometers.
Under the contract with Federal Marine and River Transport Agency, we were working in the Bering Strait (1,492 virtual kilometers), in the Sannikov Strait (3,508 virtual kilometers), and in the bottleneck sections of the Yenisey and Kolyma rivers (2,679 virtual kilometers).
Under the contract with Atomflot, we work in the Sannikov Strait and at the approaches to it (35,000 virtual kilometers).
Besides, we operated in the water area of Tiksy port, where we found underwater obstacles posing danger for navigation.
— This year you have taken over the navigation equipment of Sabetta port operation of which is under international attention. The navigation safety in the Gulf of Ob is a number one priority. How do you manage it?
— Hydrographic Company has been servicing aids to navigation in Sabetta and at the approaches to the port from 31 July 2019.
Having involved its own forces and facilities Hydrographic Company placed more than 40 buoys in the water area of the port and at he approaches to it. The company also organized cooperation with Yamal LNG JSC, Arkhangelsk branch of FSUE Rosmorport and other organizations. Besides, our specialists organized round-the-clock monitoring of equipment operation at the access canal in the water area of Sabetta.
In early October 2019, all buoys placed for the summer navigation season were removed. Instead, virtual aids to navigation have been activated via the Vessel Traffic Management System of Sabetta port (Arkhangelsk branch of FSUE Rosmorport) to ensure high level of navigation safety during the entire winter season.
I would like to emphasize that during the transition period, when the facilities were being handed over from Rosmorport’s Arkhangelsk branch to Hydrographic Company, we excluded any possibilities of the system failure.
— One more strategic activity of your company is ensuring uninterrupted operation of GLONASS and GPS stations in the Arctic. Could you please tell about it.
— In the navigation season of 2019, Hydrographic Company have performed all the activities on maintenance, operation and development of GLONASS/GPS infrastructure in the Arctic. We have ensured the delivery of everything needed for smooth operation of the stations in the inter-navigation period of 2019–2020.
226 tonnes of fuel and lubricants, 17 tonnes of food, spare parts, equipment, construction materials, general-use products and medicines have been delivered to hard to reach polar stations on the Northern Sea Route, and the teams of polar explorers have been replaced with all stations from the Kara Sea to the East Siberian Sea prepared for operation in severe winter conditions of the Arctic.
— What about the fleet of Hydrographic Company? Will it be upgraded?
— Today, we operate a fleet of eight hydrographic ships. Starting from 2020, three ships will be decommissioned and three more units will undergo modernization. Besides, there is a plan for construction of five new ships including two large survey boats laid down on 18 October 2019 at Balakovsky shipyard. Those boats are to be built by the end of the next year. Two buoy tenders were laid down for our company on October 25 by Tatarstan based Zelenodolsk Shipyard named after A.M. Gorky. We expect their delivery by the end of 2020 as well.
Moreover, construction of an Arc 7 class buoy tender is to begin in 2022.
— Tell about the construction of federal facilities at the Utrenny terminal under Arctic LNG 2 project?
— Within our new authorities on maintenance and development of port infrastructure in the Northern Sea Route waters, we have commenced the construction of federal facilities as part of the preparatory phase on construction of the Utrenny terminal for liquefied natural gas and stable gas condensate in the Gulf of Ob. They include an access canal, a water area and navigation facilities.
I would like to remind about the limited period for dredging works we had this year — about 70 days with waters free of ice. During that period, our contractor, Mordraga LLC, involved nine dredging units was to dredge more than 5 million cbm of material. I should say that Mordraga lives up to the challenge. The scope of dredging planned for the navigation season of 2020 is as large as 12 million cbm with more than 8 million cbm of material to be dredged in 2021. Al in all, the scope of dredging is to exceed 26 million cbm to ensure design depth of the water area and the access canal and to launch the terminal in 2022.
— When will a contractor be determined for dredging in the season of 2020–2021?
— Design documentation obtained state expert approval from Glavgosexpertiza in October 2019. No decision on a contractor has been made yet.
— In the course of Sabetta port operation it became clear that the Seaway Canal requires modernization. Are you planning this work?
— An R&D work “Stipulation of conditions for safe navigation within the limits of the Seaway Canal” is currently underway. It was ordered by Arctic LNG 2 LLC to Krylov State research Center. This work will be completed by the end of the year. The decision on reconstruction of the Seaway Canal will be taken basing on this work findings.
Interviewed by Nadezhda Malysheva
Full interview is available in Russian in the PortNews Magazine to be published by the Transport Week >>>>