Sakhalin authorities to suspend passenger traffic between the island and the Kuriles for two months
Regular sea passenger transportation between Sakhalin and the islands of Iturup, Kunashir and Shikotan will be discontinued for approximately two months, as the MV Igor Farkhutdinov operating on the routes will be laid up for scheduled annual dry-docking and repair. This was reported by the regional administration’s press office from a meeting with the Governor of the Sakhalin region Oleg Kozhemyako on the results his working visit to the South Kuril region.
It was reported that the region’s air transport would bear main load of carriage of passengers. However, it will be difficult particularly for the inhabitants of Shikotan (traveling to the regional centre on vacation or for medical treatment) as the connection with Kunashir, where the Mendeleevo airport is located, passengers will be carried only by a flat top barge and a helicopter. But such a trip could not be reliable because the weather remains variable.
Oleg Kozhemyako reminded that the old MV Polaris (YB 1968) purchased by the regional government in 2013 to ensure regular and reliable link with the Kuriles, since last year has been laid up and docked at the Port of Busan due to technical breakdown. Currently, it is not clear whether the ship is repairable or must be decommissioned. The governor ordered to conduct a survey by independent expert audit to find out the repair costs and possibility of her further operation.