“There is a need for a civilian shipyard in the Murmansk area”, says Director of Kimek, the yard in Kirkenes (Norwegian Arctic) with Russian shipowners as main customers.
With a unique location just about an hour’s sail from Russia’s maritime border to Norway, the ship repair yard on the coast to the Barents Sea has for the last three decades served the Russian fleet.
“About 75 percent of our customers are Russian vessels”, says Kimek Director Greger Mannsverk. He is not afraid to expand in times with downturn in trade and business between the two countries.
“We are continually assessing new business opportunities, both in Russia and elsewhere”, Mannsverk says to the Barents Observer.
“Today, we believe that there is a need for a civilian shipyard in the Murmansk area. Many vessels that do not have certificates [for sailing in open waters] to leave the Kola Bay struggle to carry out a shipyard stay.”
Kola shipyards focused on military
Although Murmansk is Russia’s busiest Arctic port with millions of tons of cargo annually, there are no more large civilian ship repair yards anywhere on the Kola Peninsula.
State owned United Shipbuilding Corporation runs the Zvezdochka Shipyard in Severodvinsk by the White Sea, which again has three major yards in the Kola Bay within its structure. Those are Sevmorput-yard No. 35 in Murmansk, the Shipyard Shkval No. 10 in Polyarny and the Nerpa yard in Olenya Bay. With a few exceptions, activities at these yards are mainly connected with military navy vessels.
Kirkenes-based Kimek on the Norwegian side of the border has a network of partners in Northwest Russia and is well-known among owners of the fishing fleet with homeports in Murmansk and Arkhangelsk (near Severodvinsk). The yard can dock relatively large trawlers indoor for works even in the coldest season of the winter.
Greger Mannsverk says it’s difficult to put a date to when Kimek will have a ship repair yard in Russia. Patience, however, is for him key to success.
“As always when working with Russia; long-term perspective and patience.”
Related stories from around the North:
Canada: Ottawa makes deal to buy three icebreakers for Canadian Coast Guard, CBC News
China: China opens bids for its first nuclear-powered icebreaker, The Independent Barents Observer
Finland: US icebreaker investment could bring 2 billions euro windfall to Finland, Yle News
Norway: Norway to build three large Coast Guard ships for Arctic, The Independent Barents Observer
Russia: Rosneft to oust Russian Navy from Murmansk shipyard, The Independent Barents Observer
United States: U.S. Coast Guard turns to Canada for help with designing its new heavy icebreaker, Radio Canada International