More dredgers to sail under the flag of Russia

More interesting topics are being opened on the 5th International Congress “Hydraulic Engineering Structures and Dredging” that launched yesterday at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Russian Federation in Moscow.

Jan De Nul

Following the announcement that Hydrographic Company is planning to invest over $260 million in new dredging vessels and some interesting views on the maintenance of the Moscow Canal, the ‘Big Four’ companies yesterday talked about transferring their dredging ships to the flag of Russia.

According to the organizer of the event, media group PortNews, Boskalis was among the first foreign companies operating in the Russian market to transfer its ships to the flag of Russia.

“Back in 2020, the company asked RF Ministry of Transport about the procedure for obtaining a permit to use foreign-flagged ships for coastal shipping in RF,” Eduard Silantiev, Executive Director of Boskalis said during his speech at the event. “Even at that time, Boskalis was ready to operate in the market with ships under the flag of Russia.”

“One year later I can say that we operate four Russian-flagged ships: Nordic Giant, two barges and Arctic Scradeway, a ship for underwater gravel leveling under construction in Murmansk” he added.

As reported by PortNews, under the RF Government’s Decree published in 2020, foreign-flagged ships not included into any Russian register can perform one-time coastwise shipping operations (lifting of sunken property, hydraulic engineering and subsea works) only in case of absence or insufficiency of dedicated domestic ships or if Russian ships cannot meet deadline requirements, the scope of works, or the area of operation.

This could be a potential problem threatening implementation of long-term agreements signed between the customers and contractors for dredging works in the Arctic zone of the Russian Federation.

When speaking at the Congress, Roberto Pelicer, Deputy General Director of Mordraga, also told about the company’s intentions to transfer some of the ships to the flag of Russia. However, he has not specified when or how many ships can be transferred.

Paul Voortmeijer, Regional Manager, Van Oord, shared the company’s plans to look into the transfer of its ships to the flag of Russia if there are long-term contracts in the country.

Earlier Aleksandr Bengert, General Director of Hydrographic Company (acts as a contractor under the projects on construction and operation of new port infrastructure facilities within NSR waters) said that Russian companies have no dredgers with capacity sufficient for large-scale capital works on the Northern Sea Route. Only small ships are available in the country.

80% of the global dredging fleet is owned by the ‘Big Four’ including Jan De Nul Group, DEME Group, Boskalis and Van Oord.