ST.PETERSBURG, December 5. /TASS/. Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom plans to organize year-round escort of ships along the Northern Sea Route (NSR) in the Arctic Ocean in the near future, Rosatom’s Head of the NSR Development Department Maxim Kulinko said on Wednesday.

He was speaking at the Arctic: Present and Future Forum in St. Petersburg.

“In the near future, we expect Rosatom to make year-round piloting (of ships) eastward along the NSR,” he said. He did not specify any time frame when this is planned.

Rosatom will carry out this work as an infrastructure operator of the NSR. Currently, the navigation along the NSR is carried out in summer-autumn period – from June to November.

Earlier it was reported, over the past season, nuclear-powered icebreakers carried out 70 escorts of ships along the route. At the same time, the gross tonnage of the vessels increased by more than 1.5 times compared to the previous year, to 1.06 mln tonnes.

The Northern Sea Route is the main sea communication in the Russian Arctic. Russia’s Ministry of Transport has forecast the cargo turnover along it will grow by 2020 “tenfold” – to 65 million tonnes a year.

NSR crosses seas of the Arctic Ocean (Kara, Laptev, East Siberian and Chukchi Seas) and the Bering Sea of the Pacific Ocean. The Northern Sea Route is about 5,600 km long. The distance from St. Petersburg to Vladivostok along NSR is about 14,000km (or about 23,000km along the Suez Canal). The Arctic: Present and Future forum, organized by the Association of Polar Explorers, is underway in St. Petersburg from December 5 to December 7.

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