Russia mulls ban on foreign vessels from Northern Sea Route

Russia mulls ban on foreign vessels from Northern Sea Route

MOSCOW, Dec 7 Reuters - Russia is considering banning foreign vessels from shipping Russian energy cargoes via the Northern Sea Route, as well as from icebreaking and coastal navigation, according to a draft government resolution.

The Industry and Trade Ministry proposed a move that would restrict vessels built outside Russia on the Northern Sea Route. Moscow wants to become a major shipping lane as the Arctic warms at a faster rate than the rest of the world.

The ministry didn't respond immediately to a request for comment.

Kommersant reported on November 1 that the ministry drew up a draft list of activities that only Russian-built vessels would be able to undertake on the shipping lane.

The activities included transportation of Russian-produced oil, gas, gas condensate and coal along the route, as well as icebreaking services, hydrotechnical and underwater engineering work, as well as hydrotechnical and underwater engineering work.

The paper said that the draft ban could be put in place on March 1 for most activities, but is opposed by some government officials who fear Russian shipyards and Russian shipyards might not be able to cope with a sudden switch.

Russia hopes that the shipping lane along its northern flank, which would shorten the distance between China and Europe, will begin year-round shipping in 2022 or 2023.