USC Vice-President Yevgeny Zagorodny tells about cruise shipbuilding in Russia
Russia numbers about 100 large cruise ships of inland navigation. Their average age exceeds 40 years, therefore renovation of cruise fleet is a very urgent issue. Yevgeny Zagorodny, Vice-President for Civil Shipbuilding, United Shipbuilding Corporation, tells IAA PortNews about the plans and prospects of building new ships in Russia.
- Mr Zagorodny, could you, please tell about the backlog of orders for cruise ships and what are USC prospects as regards its expansion?
- USC shipyards are currently building two cruise ships.
Lotus Shipyard is building a sea/river class ship able to accommodate 310 passengers for Moscow River Shipping Company. It is intended for transportation of passengers on Moscow – Astrakhan, Moscow – Saint-Petersburg lines with voyages across the Ladoga and Onega lakes as well as on Moscow – Rostov-on-Don line.
The second ship of sea/river class is under construction at Krasnoye Sormovo shipyard for shipping company Vodohod. Its capacity is 340 passengers. The ship will operate on Moscow – Astrakhan and Moscow – Saint-Petersburg lines.
Those projects, PV300 and PV300VD, are designed as floating hotels with balconies, terraces, a pool and a shade tent at the upper deck, and an observation saloon on the bows.
Cabins of 16 to 43 square meters (mostly double cabins) include balconies or French balconies. The ships will have a restaurant, conference halls, bars, children's room, beauty salon, souvenir shop, fitness center, sun tanning area on the open deck. People with special needs are offered lifts connecting all the decks, communications and restrooms, expanded passages.
These are sophisticated designs bringing up lots of questions, especially technical ones. They should be solved just in time and shipyards succeed in it complying with the construction schedule.
Construction of PV300VD and PV300 ships is performed in the framework of leasing projects under supervision of Design Bureau, Russian River Register and customers’ inspectors. The completion is scheduled for April 2019 and February 2020 accordingly.
As of today, the fleet of passenger ships of sea/river class is practically absent in Russia and in global practice. There are no vessels able to perform both sea and river cruises. The ships that are under construction will have that class.
PV300VD design is of special interest for Caspian Sea cruises. The client base for cruise ships in the Caspian region is determined by special geographical location of the lake-sea and the demand of Caspian countries – Russia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Iran and Turkmenistan.
The customers of the first PV 300 inquire about the opportunity to place orders for more vessels of this project.
Besides, USC is in negotiations with cruise company Gama on construction of two river going cruise ships for the Golden Ring project. In August-September we expect signing of the agreements for construction of two vessels at Lotus shipyard. The terms of their construction and supply in the framework of leasing projects have been worked out already. The ships are to be deployed on the Golden Ring route Moscow – Nizhny Novgorod along the Volga and Oka rivers. In the future, new routes can be launched: Khabarovsk – Komsomolsk-on-Amur, Khabarovsk – Blagoveshchensk. The ships for those routes can be built in the Far East of Russia.
Unfortunately, it is too early to speak about systematic loading of shipyards with such orders. We are in the dialogue with the customers and we hope that the first experience of operating such vessels, attraction of additional flow of tourists, including foreign ones, will contribute to the demand.
Interviewed by Bitaly Chernov