A stronger Russian presence in Arctic waters

The northern port of Murmansk in Kol’skiy (Kola) peninsula on the Barents Sea has been excluded from the application of requirements of IMO's Polar Code. (Alexander Nemenov/AFP/Getty Images)
The northern port of Murmansk in Kol’skiy (Kola) peninsula on the Barents Sea, the city where the «Polyarnaya Zvezda» is based. (Alexander Nemenov/AFP/Getty Images)
Coast guard vessel «Polyarnaya Zvezda» sails 5,300 nautical miles in its first major patrol voyage along Russia’s Arctic coast.

In a display of force and presence, the FSB’s new ice-protected coastguard vessel has arrested two fishing vessels in the Kara Sea. The trawlers are suspected of illegal fishing in the area and have been accompanied to Dikson, the port on the Kara Sea coast, state channel Vesti reports.

It is the first major voyage of «Polyarnaya Zvezda», the vessel which was officially handed over to the FSB in January this year.

The ship has during its one month at sea sailed 5,300 nautical miles.

The Northen Sea Route under russian scrutiny

The «Polyarnaya Zvezda» is based in Murmansk and significantly enforces the FSB Coast Guard’s capabilities in the western part of the Russian Arctic. It is 93 meters long, 15 meter wide and has a deadweight of 3,200 tons. Top speed is 20 knots and it can operate autonomously for up to 60 days.

The vessel is built by the Zelonodolsk yard in Kazan, the Tatar city on the Volga. It was sent through Russian river ways to Kronstadt near St.Petersburg in May 2015. The «Polyarnaya Zvezda» is the lead ship of Project 22100.

«The main asset of the vessel it its unique navigational-tactical complex and electro-powered engine, which allows it to save fuel on low speed», the shipyard writes on its website.

The new ship comes as the FSB strengthens its role in law enforcement in Russian Arctic waters. A bill signed by President Putin in June 2016, gives the FSB the full prerogatives for law enforcement along the Northern Sea Route.

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: Surveillance and search and rescue top Canada’s Arctic defence priorities, Radio Canada International

Finland: “Western countries took the bait” on Russia’s military exercises, says Finnish defence minister, Yle News

Norway: NATO trains in anti-submarine warfare in northern waters, The Independent Barents Observer

Russia: Russia sets up military unit for propaganda warfare, The Independent Barents Observer

Sweden: Sweden’s biggest military exercise in 20 years criticised, Radio Sweden

United States: Alaska leaders say military is ready to protect the state from North Korean threats, Alaska Dispatch News

Atle Staalesen, The Independent Barents Observer

For more news from the Barents region visit The Independent Barents Observer.

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