ST. PETERSBURG, May 25. /TASS/. The government of Russia’s Sakhalin Region plans to launch a ferry service between the Island of Sakhalin and Japan’s Hokkaido Island, Sakhalin Region Governor Oleg Kozhemyako told TASS on the sidelines of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF).
The Hokkaido Sakhalin Line company, the sole operator on this route, announced on Friday that it would not run ferries between Sakhalin’s port of Korsakov and the Japanese port of Wakkanai, claiming that the Sakhalin authorities had failed to prepare all the necessary financial documents in time.
"There will certainly be a ferry service between Sakhalin and Hokkaido," Kozhemyako vowed. "This is a technical issue and we will restore everything easily. We cannot let such things happen during the Russia-Japan Year of cultural exchange," the governor added.
According to Kozhemyako, he will discuss visa-free travel between Sakhalin and Japan’s second largest island with Hokkaido Governor Harumi Takahashi on Friday. "We should work to that end, we need regulatory documents to be prepared in order to improve the investment climate in our region and Hokkaido, as well as to increase tourist attractiveness," he elaborated.
Sakhalin Region Government Deputy Chairman Alexei Belik, in turn, told TASS that the Pingvin-33 (Penguin-33) marine vessel would start operating along the route in June.
In 2017, the Pingvin-33 ran 30 round trips, transporting 1,300 passengers.