St PETERSBURG, November 18, 0:24 /ITAR-TASS/. Risk of a major flood on the Neva River within the administrative boundaries of St Petersburg has passed by and the ships that spent more than ten hours anchored in the roads have begun movement to the city’s seaport, executives at the StPeterLine shipping company told Itar-Tass late night Sunday.
The Princess Maria tourist ferryboat belonging to the company was due to bring 1,400 passengers to St Petersburg by 08:00 hours Sunday.
Pyotr Parinov, the Harbor Captain of the St Petersburg port told Itar-Tass eleven ships were heading for the port and no extreme situations had been registered over the time of their anchorage.
The arrivals began after 23:00 hours Moscow Standard Time /19:00 hours GMT/. The port management had organized transfers for the ferryboat’s passengers from the Passenger Ship Terminal to the nearest metro stations.
The boarding of passengers for a return trip of the ferry, the departure of which had been delayed by 9 hrs 30 min and was due to take place at 04:30 Monday, began after midnight.
The flood that was averted with the aid of the hydro-engineering installations of the St Petersburg dam encircling the estuary of the Neva across the easternmost section of the Gulf of Finland might have become the 314th one since the foundation of the city by the Russian Czar Peter I in 1703.
Chief weather surveyor at the city’s Hydrometeorology Center, Alexander Kolesov, told Itar-Tass the war level in the Neva totaled 132 centimeters above the normal by 18:00 hours Sunday. The mark above which the authorities register the start of a flood is 160 centimeters.
“If we didn’t have the dam right now, the water would have risen to 180 or 190 centimeters,” Kolesov said.
In the meantime, rescue services were eliminating the aftermaths of the storm that accompanied the water rise. Since Sunday morning, they received 97 calls in connection with the roofing sheets ripped off by the wind, tumbling trees, and ruptures of electricity wires.
“No one has been killed or injured,” a spokesman for the city branch of the Ministry for Emergency Situations and Civil Defense /EMERCOM/ said.