Maritime Administrator Captain William G. Schubert completed
two days of bilateral consultations on July 22 and July 23 in Moscow with his Russian counterpart, Vyacheslav V. Ruksha
, head of the State Maritime Administration
of the Russian Federation. The talks were aimed at guiding the implementation of and continuing follow-up discussions for the 5-year bilateral agreement signed on June 2001 by U.S. Secretary of Transportation Norman Y. Mineta
and Russian Transport Minister Sergey Frank
"Our bilateral maritime relationship with the Russian government goes
back 30 years," stated Capt. Schubert. "This relationship between our two nations was fundamental in opening trade between the U.S. and what was then the Soviet Union."
Important aspects of the consultations included the exchange of views on matters of global importance, such as current maritime security and safety initiatives, including the implementation of the Marine Transportation Security Act of 2002. Also, the two governments intend to create an exchange program between the United States Merchant
Marine Academy and Admiral Makarov State Maritime Academy. The exchange program will be the first of its kind and will involve faculty and student exchanges between the two academies.
The Maritime Agreement signed by Secretary Mineta in June 2001 established a formal consultation process on maritime matters
, addressed visa requirements for crews of merchant vessels and improved access by Russian merchant
vessels to U.S. ports.