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Putin introduces exclusive right for Russian vessels to carry oil and gas over NSR

The new law clarifies the notion of merchant shipping

MOSCOW, December 31. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a law stipulating the exclusive rights of vessels under the Russian flag to carry oil, oil products and gas in the water area of the Northern Sea Route (NSR). The document was posted on the web portal of legal information.

Amendments are introduced into the Russian Merchant Shipping Code. Amendments suggest that pilotage, sanitary, quarantine and other controls, protection and preservation of marine environment in internal sea waters and/or in the Russian territorial sea, icebreaking and icebreaking pilotage in the water area of the Northern Sea Route, marine transportation of oil, natural gas, gas condensate and coal produced in the territory of Russia and/or in the territory under its jurisdiction, storage of oil and oil products, natural gas (including liquefied), gas condensate and coal, if such storage is made on board of a vessel in the Northern Sea Route water area, should be made exclusively with use of vessels navigating under the Russian state flag."

The new law clarifies the notion of merchant shipping, which is also understood as "the activity related to use of vessels for towing, storage of cargo, marine resource studies, search and rescue operations."

"A vessel obtains the right of navigating under the Russian state flag from the date of its state registration and can be registered in a ship register on condition of classification and inspection," the law provides.

The Northern Sea Route is the main sea artery in Arctic Russia. The distance from St. Petersburg to Vladivostok over the Northern Sea Route is above 14,000 km. For comparison, the distance via the Suez Canal is over 23,000 km.