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Russia plans naval stations for Arctic's Northern Sea Route

Alaska Dispatch

According to Russia's RIA Novosti via Norway's the Barents Observer, Russian officials have announced plans to add a naval component to the series of marine rescue and emergency stations being constructed along the country's Northern Sea Route (NSR).

The new naval stations will allow naval and border guard vessels to temporarily station along the marine corridor opening along the northern coast of Siberia. In recent years, with sea ice retreating, ship traffic has increased dramatically on the route, which significantly shortens travel time between Europe and East Asia. Cargo volume traveling the route is expected to double this year over 2011, and to skyrocket over the next decade.

Back in September 2011, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin announced at the second International Arctic Forum in Arkhangelsk, Russia’s “intention to turn the NSR into a key transport route of global importance.” PM Putin further said, “We believe that NSR has a bright future as an international transport artery capable of being a competitor to more traditional routes, both when it comes to price, safety and quality."

Russia plans to invest over $25 million in development of emergency and rescue centers from Murmansk, in west Russia, to Chukotka in the East. The first center is expected to open in this month, and all 10 of them are scheduled to be open by 2015. But an official acknowledged that progress on the plan has been slow.

Read more from Barents Observer, here, and read more on the burgeoning NSR, here.