Greenpeace Targets Russian Tanker at Rotterdam Port

Posted by Greg Trauthwein
Thursday, May 01, 2014
Photo: Sovcomflot

Mikhail Ulyanov, an ice-breaking shuttle tanker (ice class – ARC6) belonging to OAO Sovcomflot (SCF Group), has been the subject of a Greenpeace protest, while at the Port of Rotterdam carrying a cargo of 67,000 tons of crude oil, loaded on the continental shelf of the Pechora Sea, Russia.

“We are extremely disappointed that our vessel has been the subject of an irresponsible publicity stunt by Greenpeace, which occurred despite the measures taken by our ship and the port authorities, including the Coast Guard and the Marine Police. Mikhail Ulyanov is an ultra-modern high ice class shuttle tanker, with a technical specification above most of her peers, including conventional tankers transporting crude from oil-fields on the continental shelf of the North Sea,” said Mikhail Suslin, Vice President, Head of Safety Department of OAO Sovcomflot. “The actions of Greenpeace have caused unnecessary extra stress for the ship’s captain and potentially unsafe operating conditions for the vessel when maneuvering in the restricted area of the port waters, and especially by the Greenpeace actions preventing the safe mooring of the tanker to the oil terminal.”

The ship’s master, Stanislav Chichin, weighed in as well. “As a Master I know that the actions of Greenpeace have needlessly distracted our highly professional crew from its normal work in an area of highly intensive shipping traffic. The crew of tanker Mikhail Ulyanov made its scheduled voyage from the point of loading in the Pechora Sea towards the discharge port of Rotterdam. At the entrance of the port and in the port during the process of mooring operations they were met by Greenpeace vessels. The actions of Greenpeace break the fundamental principles of international conventions for safety at sea as well as environmental safety.

My responsibility in manoeuvring in the confined waters of a port is no less dangerous than sailing in the Arctic, especially when another vessel is trying to interfere with a tanker transporting 67,000 tonnes of crude oil in an area of high intensity shipping. During the process of final voyage and during the mooring operations to the terminal of the port, the Greenpeace vessel Rainbow Warrior deliberately tried to prevent the safe mooring of the vessel, putting herself between the hull of the tanker and the berth, risking their people and of the port.”

From the seafarers’ point of view the inadequacy of their behaviour in marine waters is unprofessional and can only be explained by the desire to make an impression on the general public without thinking about the consequences”.
Currently the tanker Mikhail Ulyanov is safely moored at the terminal.

The Tanker Mikhail Ulyanov is an Arctic shuttle tanker was designed to transport oil by sea from Russian offshore oil fields and built in Russia. The ship was built in accordance with the Rules of Dual Registry of the Russian Registry of Shipping and Lloyd’s Register.
“Sovcomflot’s fleet is routinely surveyed by Lloyd’s Register (LR) and other members of the International Association of Classification Societies,” said Richard Sadler, Chief Executive Officer of Lloyd’s Register Group. “This helps ensure that the fleet carries the necessary high standards of regulatory environmental and safety certification enabling international trading. Lloyds Register, which certifies the majority of the fleet, additionally certifies Sovcomflot to ISO quality standards including environmental protection and energy management.”
The vessel measures 257 x 34 x 14 m and is a double acting ice-breaker.

The vessel is fitted with twin Azipod propulsion units (an electric propeller-ruder system with a 360 degree turning circle), a dynamic positioning system (DP), heli-deck and a bow loading facility adapted for Arctic operations.

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