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World’s only nuclear container ship arrives at St. Petersburg


By the end of the year, one more voyage from Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky to St. Petersburg with a cargo of fish is scheduled.


At night on September 15 the nuclear lighter carrier Sevmorput arrived at the port of St. Petersburg. The vessel came from Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky crossing the Northern Sea Route, the name of which she bears (Sevmorput is the abbreviated Russian name for ‘Northern Sea Route’).

The transit time was 18 days. Actually, the ship could have come even earlier, but there were some problems with biofouling.

According to Chief Engineer Segey Rudakov, in the Pacific, the crew had to stop for defouling and clean up the buildup of barnacles and weeds.

Sevmorput is the world’s only nuclear-powered lighter carrier and container vessel built in the Soviet era. To handle such a vessel the port has to comply with certain requirements.

These have to do mostly with sanitary regulations, explains Alexander Volkov, Harbour Master of the Big port of St. Petersburg. A special laboratory of the Ministry of emergency situations is on duty regularly measuring the background radiation and sending data to the authorities concerned.

According to Alexander Volkov, at present extending the Northern Sea Route to St. Petersburg is a pilot project, but by 2023 regular all year round operations of the route should start. The city will benefit from this development. Fish will be carried to St. Petersburg, and construction materials will be transported from St. Petersburg.

Eduard Batanov, Vice Governor of St. Petersburg, reminded about Zhataisk Port development project in Yakutia, for which equipment is to be loaded from St. Petersburg.

Cargo traffic along the Northern Sea Route is to grow up to 80 million tons a year, this is a task set by the President of Russia. Other countries are also interested in using this route.

Mustafa Kashka, Managing Director of Atomflot, the state company operating Russia’s nuclear icebreakers, says a council has been established in which companies working on the Northern Sea Route are represented. Chinese companies are interested in the Northern Sea Route, he added.

By the end of the year, Sevmorput is scheduled to make one more voyage along the Northern Sea Route bringing another shipment of fish from Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky to St. Petersburg.