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The Russian Maritime Register of Shipping (RS) is seeing a boost in business coming from the growing interest in shipping via the Northern Sea Route and the development LNG and offshore projects in the Arctic region.

Despite issues such as labour supply and poor quality supply chains, Russia’s shipyards are eyeing a major boost from Arctic shipping and oil exploration.

Italian shipbuilding group Fincantieri has signed two MoUs with Russia covering a harsh weather drillship and a nuclear waste disposal barge.

When Russia’s United Shipbuilding Corporation (USC) announced the buyout of the remainder of Finland’s Arctech Shipyards, USC’s head of communications Aleksei Kravchenko stated that it was not worried about the yard’s shaky finances. Kravchenko added that it would be easier to secure orders from Russian businesses and Government agencies once production was under full Russian control.

A ship operated by Russian state shipowner Sovcomflot has completed the company’s first east-west voyage through the Northern Sea Route, involving a convoy of icebreakers over 14 days.

North Atlantic Drilling (NADL) and its 74% shareholder Seadrill have announced a preliminary agreement for a strategic partnership with an unnamed, experienced Arctic operator with a strong foothold in the Russian market, to expand NADL's harsh environment business.

There are not many shipping stories that capture the attention of the general media, but one that did in the last week or so was the first Chinese ship to set out on a voyage from Dalian to Rotterdam via the Arctic. The story neatly combined shipping with geo-politics, a highly environmentally sensitive region of the world and climate change. News editors around the world duly reacted.

A new monitoring system for maritime traffic, dubbed MONALISA Ice (MICE,) is to begin testing aboard a Swedish icebreaker, having garnered praise from the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).

IMO secretary general Koji Sekimizu is to see first hand the effects and possibilities of Arctic navigation taking a voyage on the Northern Sea Route (NSR).

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