ClassNK opened its first exclusive surveyor office in St. Petersburg on September 14 with a lively reception hosted by ClassNK Chairman and President and Current IACS Vice-Chairman Noboru Ueda.
The event was attended by more than 80 guests including executives and representatives from throughout the Russian maritime industry. Among the many prominent dignitaries at the event were His Excellency Ichiro Kawabata, Consul General of Japan in St. Petersburg, IACS Council Chairman Pavel Shikhov, Vladimir Alexandrov, President of the St. Petersburg Shipbuilders Association, and numerous top representatives from academic institutions such as CNIIMF. Foreign and domestic owners such NYK, K-Line and SCF UNICOM, as well as shipyards, the oil and gas and marine insurance sectors, suppliers and manufacturers also attended the event.
Mr. Ueda welcomed the guests to the party with an opening address given in Russian, in which he highlighted the important role that Russia played in the development of Japan’s shipbuilding industry when, in 1854, the Russian ambassador Putyatin's vessel sank off the Japanese coast after being damaged during a tsunami, and it was decided that a ship would have to be built in Japan so that the ambassador could return home.
“Using materials provided by the Japanese government, the Russian sailors and local Japanese craftsmen worked together to build the very first western style ship ever built in Japan, enabling the ambassador and his crew to safely return home,” Mr. Ueda said.
“That ship’s construction marked an important turning point in the history of Japanese shipbuilding, and another 10 ships of the same design, called the Kimisawagata for the region where the first ship was built, were eventually constructed.”
“Those local craftsmen, and they skills and experienced they gained from building those first few ships, became the foundation of Japan’s growing shipbuilding industry.”
“In that spirit, I hope that the opening of our office here in St. Petersburg can help contribute to further strengthening the long tradition of cooperation between the Russian and Japanese maritime industries,” Mr. Ueda said.
He added: "As a growing economic power, Russia has a great future ahead of it in the maritime world, and we hope that this office in St. Petersburg, Russia’s greatest port, can help support the continued growth and development of the Russian maritime industry.”
The announcement of the opening of the office in St Petersburg, which followed the NK classed Nordic Barents becoming the first bulk carrier to make the voyage from Europe to China via the Northern Sea Route at the end of last year, marked an important first step towards achieving these goals.
The St. Petersburg office is one of the latest additions to ClassNK’s network of 119 global offices and one of the society’s 98 offices outside Japan.