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2019 April 24

Andrey Vakhrushev: “Our task is the development of the ports of Azov, Rostov-on-Don and Taganrog”

The period of icebreaking assistance was completed at the ports in the Sea of Azov about a month ago with summer aids to navigation now having been deployed. Andrei Vakhrushev, Director of the Rosmorport’s branch in a recent interview told PortNews about this winter icebreaking season and its results, the maintenance and development in the basins of Rostov-on-Don, Azov and Taganrog ports.

- Mr. Vakhrushev, in early March the period of icebreaker escort of ship convoys in the sea ports of the Sea of ​​Azov ended. Pleas, tell us how the icebreaker fleet was prepared for work in the winter.

- In 2018, as in previous years, our branch prepared the icebreakers “Kapitan Demidov”, “Kapitan Chudinov”, “Kapitan Moshkin”, “Kapitan Kharchikov” and “Kama” by the beginning of the icebreaking period and in advance ready for inspection of the supervisory authorities.

Last year, Moryak Yard JSC performed drydocking of the Kapitan Moshkin icebreaker, the icebreaking tug Kama underwent drydocking and repair at Shipbuilding, Shiprepair Yard RIF, while Taganrog Department of the Azov Basin Branch (ABB) carried out maintenance overhaul of the Kapitan Demidov, the Kapitan Chudinov and the Kapitan Kharchikov at its repair facilities.

In addition to the Rosmorport ABB’s icebreaking fleet, an icebreaker of the North-Western Basin Branch the Kapitan Zarubin was also providing assistance escorting ship convoys to the Azov ports. The icebreaker was redeployed in advance along the inland waterways from the Baltic to the Azov basin.

- What were this winter weather conditions?

- This winter navigation season, ice situation in the Azov basin can be described as easy. Ice in the Sea of Azov did not spread southward of the Dolgaya Spit, which greatly simplified the task for our icebreakers. Weather conditions favored the busy traffic with a corresponding cargo volumes growth.

- How many ships proceeded to the Russian ports in the Sea of Azov?

- In the reporting period, our Azov branch provided icebreaking assistance to 3,359 merchant ships, 1,092 of them bound for the Port of Azov, 1925 vessels - for the Port of Rostov-on-Don and 342 units - for the Port of Taganrog.

- Was this icebreaking season different?

- I would say the early start of this icebreaking period as it was announced by harbour masters of the ports of Azov, Rostov-on-Don and Taganrog from midnight, November 26, 2018, or 15 days ahead of the icebreaker dues collection (December 11, 2018). This icebreaking period appeared to be relatively longer as it lasted 100 days. On average, icebreakers were escorting up to 33 ships per day.

- What kind of repair will your icebreakers require during the internavigation period of 2019? What yards will do it?

- We have scheduled for 2019 drydocking of the Kapitan Chudinov. The contractor for the performance of work will be determined on the basis of competitive procurement.

Operating maintenance of the icebreaker Kapitan Moshkin, the icebreaking tug Kapitan Kharchikov, and the icebreaker Kapitan Demidov will be performed on our own. The first vessel will undergo maintenance at the dockyard of Rosmorport ABB’s Taganrog administration, while ROST LLC yard will work on the other two.

- As to the upcoming summer navigation season, when did you begin repair and installation of navigational aids?

- We began preparation of summer aids to navigation on January 10 and work was completed on February 27. Specialists of the Azov Basin Branch prepared 125 units for installation.
Deployment of navigational aids in the Port of Azov started from February 28, in the Port of Rostov-on-Don waters from March 1, and in the Port of Taganrog from March 4, 2019.

- What fleet was involved in the navigation markers installation? How much time did it take?

- We used three vessels of our branch to perform the task: the Yury Romanchenko buoy tender and a pair of anchor handling boats: the MZ-303 and the MZ-315.

Installation of navigational aids in the Port of Azov was completed within eight days, in Rostov-on-Don - five days and four days in Taganrog.

- One of the most important tasks of Rosmorport is to maintain the design depths. What was the volume of dredging in 2018?

- In 2018, the total volume of maintenance dredging reached 1 249 663.8 cbm of materials and the depths corresponds to allowable mark at all sites.

- Where dredging works were carried out?

- Dredging was performed on the Taganrog access channel and in the waters of ​​the Port of Taganrog and a total of 1 060 974.9 cbm of materials were dredged; on the Azov-Don Sea Canal — 188 688.9 cbm

- What dredging vessels were involved?

- We deployed our own bucket dredger the Kuban-2 and the same types of dredgers chartered from thirdparty organization (FBU Azov-Don Basin Administration), the bucket dredgers Kamsky-601 and Donskoy-405.

- What is the expected volume of dredging in 2019. What areas were chosen for dredging?

- We have planned to dredge in 2019 a total volume of 1 640 000 cbm. This year we plan to perform dredging works on the Taganrog access channel, in the Port of Taganrog basin, on the marine stretch of the Azov-Don Canal and the Don River, in the seaport of Rostov-on-Don.

- In 2018, the Rosmorport ABB contracted Sedov Institute of Water Transport to undertake a study on the possibility of dredging below  Aksai, in the river water area of the Port of Rostov-on-Don. What is the essence of the study?

- In order to ensure safe navigation, maintenance and development of navigable routes within the Azov and Rostov-on-Don ports, the Rosmorport’s regional branch manages dredging works on the navigable section of the Don River from the 3121st-km stretch to 3169th-km stretch.

This is a two-phase study project: the P1 includes research work titled “Justification of the dimensions of the navigable section of the Don River between the 3121st km to the 3169th km, taking into account the parameters of allowable draft vessels”. The P2 involves the development of an environmental impact assessment of maintenance dredging on this shipping section. As the study title implies it is required to substantiate and determine the optimal dimensions for the navigable section of the Don River between the certain river stretches with passing vessels particulars. All goals of the study have been achieved.

- And what conclusions did the researchers come to?

- The required dimensions of the fairway section of the Don River were determined on the given stretches for both-way traffic of a vessel of a length of 150 m and breadth of 20 m, limiting sections were identified, the required dredging volume was calculated. The depth of the shipping sections will be 4 meters.

- How and when is it planned to bring this research work to life?

- This work has already been underway. According to the results of the research work, the Azov Basin Branch is preparing the technical part of the tender documentation to conclude an agreement on the development of project documentation "Environmental feasibility of activities for maintaining the depths in the navigable sections of the Don River from the Port of Azov (3169 km) to 3147th km and from 3142.4th to the village of Aksai (3121st km) for the period of 2020-2030"

The planned date of the dredging works will be determined by the project documentation following basic and detailed engineering.

- Mr. Vakhrushev in conclusion of our conversation, I congratulate you on taking the office of the Rosmorport branch director and I want to ask you, what will your priorities be as the organization new manager?

- Thanks! All assigned tasks are aimed at promoting the development of the maritime transport infrastructure of the Azov, Rostov-on-Don and Taganrog seaports, enhancing the competitiveness of Russian seaports by efficiently operating, maintaining and developing the federal property in management of the enterprise in seaports and ensuring the safety of navigation. The main tasks include providing allowable navigation dimensions on the Azov-Don Sea Canal and Taganrog access channel, the basin of ​​the Taganrog seaport, to provide icebreaking support during winter seasons, reliable and smooth operation of navigational aids, and the organization of dredging works on the shipping section of the Don River between the 3121st-km to the 3169th-km stretch. In addition, it is very important to build onshore NAVTEX station and the VTS in the Port Rostov-on-Don.

Interviewed by Elena Tkacheva.