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Murmansk loses control over icebreaker fleet

21.02.2008 The Russian fleet of nuclear-powered icebreakers will be transferred to the Rosatom, leader of the state corporation Sergey Kirienko confirms. Currently, the fleet is managed by the Murmansk Shipping Company.

Mr. Kirienko says that also the Atomflot service base, located outside the city of Murmansk, will be transferred to Rosatom.

The leader of the powerful state company says that the transfer of the fleet is made “in line with reforms within the industry”. He adds that the fleet over the last several years has encountered a number of problems, which now need to be solved.

The transfer of the fleet away from the Murmansk Shipping Company (MSCO), must be seen as a blow to the Murmansk regional authorities’ ability to influence the state of affairs with Arctic shipping. The icebreaker fleet is vital in Russia’s infrastructure in the Arctic.

The nuclear-powered icebreaker fleet includes nine vessels. In addition, the MSCO has administrated the “Sevmorput” nuclear-powered container ship. The company has also had the responsibility for six technical support vessels, among them the “Lepse” ship.

Source: www.barentsobserver.com, photo: The "Arktika" (msco.ru)

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