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Russia called to increase flagged tonnage

Russia called to increase flagged tonnage

Moscow: Russian President Vladimir Putin (pictured) has asked the Russian government to set up a programme to encourage Russian owned vessels to fly the national flag, reports the Itar-Tass news agency. "Russia controls more than 1,500 ships with a combined deadweight of about 15 million tones. However 60.3 percent of this tonnage is transported under foreign flags that are 'comfortable' for Russian ship owners, and the number of such ships grows all the time," said President Putin at a joint meeting of the presidium of the State Council and the naval Board. "We must create conditions for a gradual transition of ships to Russian jurisdiction. This work must start without delay," he added.

Putin also spoke of the decline of the Russian shipping industry and the need for new investment. "The average age of such ships is about nine years, and that of those sailing under the Russian flag is more than 24. There is no Baltic shipping line any more, and the fleet of the Far Eastern shipping line has shrunk almost 66%. The average age of ships there is over 30 years, and all transportation services outside the country are rendered by foreign fleets," he said

"All these facts indicate that the maritime fleet problems do not get enough attention. The government has to work out measures that would ensure accelerated development of the fleet, including the passenger one," he concluded.  [04/05/07]