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GORKI, June 8. /TASS/. Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev signed the integrated development plan of the Northern Sea Route. The prime minister made the statement on Monday.
"This is the shortest route connecting Europe with the Far East, with the Asia-Pacific and the western part of the North America," the prime minister said. "One should admit its usage so far, softly speaking, is nothing to shout about," Medvedev added at the meeting with vice premiers.
Over 600 permits are annually issued at present for transportation of goods over the Northern Sea Route and the yearly goods transportation volume equals 4 mln tonnes, Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich said.
"The potential estimated for the period of [the nearest] 15 years, and this is the implementation timeframe of the integrated plan, is over 80 mln tonnes. In other words, a twentyfold increase is possible," Dvorkovich said.
It will make possible to surpass the goods traffic in times of the USSR, Dvorkovich added. "This goal is a must [to surpass transportation in the Soviet times]," the prime minister said.0vnk
The whole regulatory base required for implementation of the plan has already been developed by now, Dvorkovich said. The project provides for six main components, including navigation and hydrographic support in particular, he added. "At present there are actually no modern maps at the level they should be," the deputy prime minister said.
There is no fully realized system of vessel navigation management and sea pollution control, Dvorkovich said. The issue of marine environment protection was raised as far back as at G8 summits when oil spills control was discussed, he said.
"There was a time when G8 was dealing with useful things, unlike now," Prime Minister Medvedev said.
Development of the search and rescue infrastructure on the Northern Sea Route has already started, Dvorkovich said. "Response teams are to be included already this year into crews of icebreakers escorting vessels; furthermore, development of key seaports will be supported," the deputy prime minister said.
A separate section of the plan is dedicated to interests of the Defense Ministry in safeguarding the Northern Sea Route, Dvorkovich said.