Vladimir Putin Attends Naming for Ships to Show Off Zvezda Shipyard
With a Soviet-era style propaganda event, Russian President Vladimir Putin visited the Zvezda Shipyard on September 11 as part of his tour through the eastern regions to highlight the growth of the shipyard and his effort to develop the Far East regions. Putin used the opportunity to again promote the shipyard while highlighting efforts he said in developing domestic capabilities and preparing for growth in Arctic shipping.
The highlight of the event was a tour to show off the growth of the shipyard which has been a project supported by Putin. During the visit, two ice-class tankers, consisting of a shuttle tanker and an ARC 7 LNG tanker, were named. The ice-class LNG carrier, being built for Sovcomflot was hailed as the first Russian-built vessel and critically uses three steerable propulsion units built for the first time in Russia. They highlighted that in the past the pods had to be built aboard.
The ARC 7 ice-class KNG tanker is designed to operate in harsh climates while transporting LNG. It can overcome two meter (approximately 6.5 feet) thick ice. The vessel was named Alexey Kosygin after a prominent Soviet politician.
Built for Rosnefteflot, the shuttle tanker is also designed to operate on the North Sea Route independently, without an icebreaker escort. Named for a Soviet writer, Valentin Pikul, the vessel is equipped with a bow loading gear for receiving oil directly from a fixed offshore ice-resistant terminal.
Two tankers for the Arctic service were named during the president's visit
"Today’s event is important for the Russian shipbuilding, for the country's transportation industry. Two new civil fleet vessels will be given their names,” said Put during the ceremony while congratulating the plant employees and the crew of the new vessels. “These marine vessels are modern, powerful, equipped with the latest technology, and without exaggeration are one of the best in their class globally. They are capable of operating at extremely low temperatures, in harsh climatic conditions, passing through ice barriers, transporting large volumes of oil and gas," Putin highlighted.
Briefing the president on the progress at the shipyard, executives took him on a tour and reported that a total of 12 vessels had been launched at the Shipyard, including four Aframax tankers with a total deadweight of 450,000 tons. They said work is ongoing to build 23 more ships out of more than 50 vessels in the company's orderbook, which totals over three million DWT.
During the visit, they also highlighted the construction progress of two ARC7 ice-breaking LNG tankers, the hulls of which are currently being built in the dry dock. They also called attention to another Aframax tanker, which they said is being prepared for the sea trials, as well as a supply vessel, an MR tanker, and a gas carrier.
"The development of such a fleet is of great importance for our country - the Arctic power, it is in demand for the implementation of our Arctic development long-term strategy to ensure reliable transportation on the Northern Sea Route, on global transportation and logistics routes in order to reinforce the energy security of our country and the whole world," said Putin visit.
Staged for the camera, the event sought to highlight the development of the shipyard and its capabilities
Executives at the shipyard highlighted new facilities, including five new workshops and three warehouse complexes, with the workshops dedicated to the processing of steel and rolled metal, cleaning and priming of metal sheets and profiles, cutting steel, and curved and panel blocks. They emphasized that the yard has been developed in less than seven years since Putin first called for its development.
While great emphasis was placed on the success of the shipyard during the event, numerous reports have said Russia’s shipbuilding is lagging far behind schedule. The war and international sanctions have also impacted Russia’s ability to proceed with shipbuilding. Last year, South Korea’s Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering reported canceling orders after the unnamed buyer could not complete payments while Samsung was reportedly deferring deliveries to Russia. Recent reports have said Russia is now looking to shipbuilders in China and India for extra construction capacity despite the propaganda display during Putin’s visit to the Zvezda complex.