Soviet Union News

21 Feb 2019

Russia Struggles to Modernize its Navy

Yaroslav Mudry. Photo from kaliningrad.kp.ru

President Vladimir Putin calls improving the Russian navy's combat capabilities a priority.The unfinished husks of three guided-missile frigates that have languished for three years at a Baltic shipyard show that is easier said than done.Earmarked for Russia's Black Sea Fleet, the frigates fell victim to sanctions imposed by Ukraine in 2014 after Russia annexed the Crimean peninsula, prompting Kiev to ban the sale of the Ukrainian-made engines needed to propel them.With Moscow unable to quickly build replacement engines for the Admiral Grigorovich-class frigates, construction stopped.

20 Jan 2019

Oldendorff Sells Three Vessels in in CSL Pool to Algoma

Pic: Oldendorff

The dry bulk operator Oldendorff Carriers sold the three remaining self-unloaders still operating in the CSL Pool for US$100.5 million to Algoma Central Corporation.CSL International Pool is a partnership between Oldendorff Carriers, Marbulk Shipping Inc. and Algoma Shipping Inc.The vessels -Sophie Oldendorff (70,037 tdw built 2000), Harmen Oldendorff (66,188 tdw built 2005) & Alice Oldendorff (50,259 tdw built 2000) -  are expected to deliver to Algoma around the middle of 2019.All…

22 Oct 2018

US Aircraft Carrier in Arctic after Three Decades

USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75). Image: United States Navy

A US aircraft carrier strike group has entered in the frigid waters north of the Arctic Circle for the first time since the Soviet Union collapsed to join a massive NATO naval drill close to Russian border.According to a press communication from the United States Navy,  for the first time in nearly 30 years, a U.S. aircraft carrier entered the Arctic Circle Oct. 19 to conduct operations in the Norwegian Sea.Accompanied by select ships from Carrier Strike Group Eight (CSG-8), the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Harry S.

07 Aug 2018

Venezuela Dodges Oil Asset Seizures with Export Transfers at Sea

© Igor Groshev / Adobe Stock

Venezuela's state-run oil company PDVSA has limited the damage from an unprecedented slump in crude exports by transferring oil between tankers at sea and loading vessels in neighboring Cuba to avoid asset seizures.But the OPEC member nation is still fulfilling less than 60 percent of its obligations under supply deals with customers.Venezuela has been pumping oil this year at the lowest rate in three decades after years of underinvestment and a mass exodus of workers. The state…

02 Aug 2018

White House Escalates China Trade Dispute in hopes for Early Solution: Kemp

File Image: CREDIT Hapag Lloyd

The United States has adopted an "escalate to negotiate" strategy towards China, threatening a dramatic hike in tariffs to try to force a resumption of trade talks while the U.S. economy remains strong and as elections approach in November.U.S. President Donald Trump has reportedly rejected a plan to levy tariffs of 10 percent on an additional $200 billion of imports from China and ordered aides to prepare a proposal for tariffs at the higher rate of 25 percent.The levies are…

13 May 2018

China's First Home-built Aircraft Carrier Begins Sea Trials

Photo: Official Chinese Media

China’s first domestically built aircraft carrier headed out for sea trials on May 13, Chinese state media reported. The report said that the new aircraft carrier, temporarily named Type 001A, sailed out at around 7 a.m. in Dalian, in the northeast province of Liaoning. The Chinese Navy — officially the People’s Liberation Army Navy — already has one operational carrier, the Liaoning, which it bought unfinished from Ukraine after the collapse of the Soviet Union. So, the 50,000-tonne ship will become the country's second aircraft carrier…

12 Oct 2017

Orest Sychenikov, First Head of Novorossiysk Shipping Company, Passed Away

Orest Sychenikov. Photo: PAO Sovcomflot

It is with great sadness that the Sovcomflot management and team must announce a monumental loss to the Russian shipping community. On 9 October 2017, Orest Sychenikov, first Head of Novorossiysk Shipping Company, passed away at the age of 95. On 9 October 2017, we lost a highly educated man, a talented leader who made a massive contribution to the strengthening and development of Russian maritime navigation. Orest Sychenikov was born on 28 June 1922. In 1941, he was called up to the Red Army to fight in the Second World War, during which was seriously wounded in 1943.

12 May 2017

Arctic Council Meeting Stirs Hidden Tensions

Photo credit: Arctic Council Secretariat / Linnea Nordström

As foreign ministers from countries with territory in the far North celebrated an agreement on fighting climate change this week, one topic seethed below the surface: growing competition for Arctic resources and sea lanes as the ice melts. Russia, one of eight members of the Arctic Council which includes the United States, Canada and the Nordic countries, has been pouring money and missiles into the Arctic as well as reopening and building bases there. This is bringing its Arctic military presence to the highest level since the 1991 fall of the Soviet Union.

09 May 2017

Cuban Refined Oil Product Exports Drop Sharply

Cuban exports of refined oil products fell about 97 percent between 2013 and 2016, according to a United Nations trade report released this week, reflecting falling supplies from its political ally Venezuela. The UN Comtrade annual report put the value of Cuban fuel exports last year at $15.4 million, compared to more than $500 million in 2013. The amounts for 2015 and 2014, when oil prices collapses, were $163.5 million and $336.8, respectively. The figures were based on import data from reporting countries, which may make them incomplete. The communist-ruled Caribbean nation does not publish oil-related export information. Cash-strapped Cuba reported its exports of goods…

30 Jan 2017

Russia Ramping Up Arctic Push

A Russian icebreaker currently under construction at Arctech Helsink Shipyard (Photo: Eric Haun)

The nuclear icebreaker Lenin, the pride and joy of the Soviet Union's Arctic great game, lies at perpetual anchor in the frigid water here. A relic of the Cold War, it is now a museum. But nearly three decades after the Lenin was taken out of service to be turned into a visitor attraction, Russia is again on the march in the Arctic and building new nuclear icebreakers. It is part of a push to firm Moscow's hand in the High North as it vies for dominance with traditional rivals Canada, the United States, and Norway as well as newcomer China.

10 Oct 2016

Russia to Build Permanent Syrian Naval Base, Eyes Other Outposts

Nikolay Pankov (Photo: Minister of Defence of the Russian Federation)

Russia will create a permanent naval base in Syria to expand its military footprint in its closest Middle East ally, a government official said on Monday, a week after Moscow said it was considering reopening Soviet-era bases in Vietnam and Cuba. The move, announced by Russian Deputy Defence Minister Nikolai Pankov, is further evidence Russia is building up its capabilities in Syria despite a partial drawdown in March and another sign it is digging in for the long haul to help prop up President Bashar al-Assad.

02 Sep 2016

Russia, Japan Discuss Islands Dispute 'In-depth'

Russia's President Vladimir Putin and Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe agreed on Friday to draw up proposals this year to end a row over a group of disputed islands that has bedevilled relations between their countries for over 70 years. The dispute stems from the Soviet Union's decision, in the final days of World War Two, to seize the islands - known in Japan as the Northern Territories and in Russia as the Southern Kuriles - that Tokyo says are its sovereign territory. Concessions over the islands would carry risks for Putin but could boost Japanese investment in Russia at a time when Moscow, battered by low global oil prices and Western sanctions, badly needs an injection of cash.

31 Aug 2016

Russia Honours First British Arctic Convoy, 75 Years On

British and Russian World War Two veterans gathered on Wednesday in Arkhangelsk, 75 years to the day since Britain's first Arctic convoy of military supplies steamed into the northern port. Britain's Princess Anne has been among those attending events honouring those who sailed, and the thousands who died, protecting supply convoys dispatched to aid the Soviet Union against Nazi Germany. On Aug. 31, 1941, two months after Hitler's surprise attack on his erstwhile ally prompted Josef Stalin to seek support from a beleaguered Britain, the first convoy, codenamed "Dervish", sailed into Arkhangelsk, or Archangel, after a 10-day crossing.

31 Aug 2016

Long Beach Port Acquires 125 Acres for Cargo Ops

(Seated, from left) Kim Ostrowski, Director of the Navy Base Realignment and Closure Program Management Office West; Maritime Administrator Paul “Chip” Jaenichen; Harbor Commissioner Tracy Egoscue; (standing, from left) Richard Cameron, Port Managing Director of Environmental Affairs and Planning; Long Beach Vice Mayor Rex Richardson; Port CEO Jon Slangerup; former Long Beach Mayor Beverly O'Neill; and Long Beach Councilmember Roberto Uranga, District 7.)

U.S. Navy, Maritime Administration and California Environmental Protection Agency representatives joined City and Port officials today to commemorate the approval to transfer ownership of 125 acres of the former Naval Complex to the City of Long Beach. The property transfer commemoration highlighted the economic success of a thriving shipping terminal and other operations at the former Navy facility. Today, the Pier T container terminal is one of the Port of Long Beach’s busiest — able to accommodate megaships and handling billions of dollars’ worth of trade.

08 Aug 2016

Helen Delich Bentley Dies at 92

Helen Delich Bentley (Image courtesy of the U.S. Congress)

Helen Delich Bentley, a former journalist and a U.S. Republican congresswoman from Maryland who gained global attention by smashing Japanese goods to protest Tokyo's trade policies, died over the weekend at the age of 92, officials said. Bentley upset a longtime Democratic congressman to win a U.S. House of Representatives seat in 1984, a year in which Ronald Reagan's landslide victory in the presidential race helped bring several new faces from the party to Congress. The five-term congresswoman was a staunch advocate for the port of Baltimore and the state's maritime industry.

07 Aug 2016

Kangnam To Build Minesweepers Ships in India

RAdm Shekhar Mital NM, CMD, GSL explaining "Make in India vision of GSL" to the PM. Photo: Goa Shipyard Limited

South Korea's Kangnam Corporation will jointly build 12 mine countermeasure vessels (MCMV) in India in collaboration with India's state-owned Goa Shipyard Limited (GSL), reports Hindustan Times. The project comes under under the Modi government’s Make in India programme and is likely to cost more than Rs 32,000 crore ($4.8 billion). “We are in the final stage of concluding the contract. It should be done in three to four weeks,” Hindustan Times quoted GSL chairman Rear Admiral Shekhar Mital as saying. The navy needs to fill gaps in its mine warfare capability.

01 Aug 2016

This Day In Naval History: August 1

Pope Pius IX (Photo: public domain)

1801 - The schooner, USS Enterprise, commanded by Lt. Andrew Sterett, encounters the Barbary corsair, Tripoli, west of Malta. After a three-hour battle, USS Enterprise broadsides the vessel, forcing Tripolis surrender. 1849 - Pope Pius IX and King Ferdinand of the Two Sicilies, briefly visit USS Constitution and marks the first time that a Roman Catholic pope steps foot on American territory. 1921 - A high-altitude bombsight, mounted on a gyroscopically stabilized base was successfully tested at Torpedo Station, Yorktown, Va. This test was the first phase of Carl L.

24 Jun 2016

This Day In Naval History: June 24

1833 - The frigate Constitution is the first vessel to enter the newly-built dry dock at the Charlestown Navy Yard, Boston, Mass. for overhaul. A false rumor circulates in Boston in 1830 that the U.S. Navy intends to scrap the ship; young Oliver Wendell Holmes pens his poem "Old Ironsides", becoming a rallying cry to save the ship. 1944 - Torpedo bomber TBM aircraft (VC 69) from USS Bogue (CVE 9) sink Japanese submarine (I 52), 800 miles southwest of Fayal, Azores. 1944 - Navy submarines USS Grouper (SS 214), USS Redfin (SS 272) and USS Tang (SS 306) attack Japanese convoys off the coast of Japan, sinking seven enemy vessels. 1948 - The Berlin airlift Operation Vittles is initiated to offset the Soviet Union's blockade access of the U.S.…

22 Apr 2016

Venezuelan's Late Shipping Containers bill at $1bln

Venezuelan state agencies have run up close to $1 billion in debts with shipping firms due to delays in returning containers, potentially boosting the cost of importing staple goods as the country struggles with product shortages and an economic crisis. The agencies have held containers for months or simply never returned them, at times leaving the truck-sized steel boxes for years in oil industry facilities or on provincial farms even though this costs $100 per day per container, according to industry sources. The debts have piled up over the last six years, coinciding with a steady rise in the role of state agencies in importing goods to Venezuela, particularly food. The country is served by industry giants such as Maersk of Denmark and Hamburg Sud of Germany.

15 Dec 2015

Russia Supplies Syria Mission with Turkey's Old Cargo Ships

Earlier this year, an old refrigerator ship called the Georgiy Agafonov, built to transport fruit and vegetables for the Soviet Union, was quietly gathering rust in the Ukrainian port of Izmail where the Danube flows into the Black Sea. Its owners, a Ukrainian state company, assumed it would never sail again. When a Turkish company offered to buy it for $300,000, they watched as the hulk was towed away, presumably for scrap. Nine months later the ship is back at sea, renamed Kazan-60, reflagged as part of Russia's naval auxiliary fleet, and repurposed as an unlikely part of Moscow's biggest military operation outside the old Soviet boundaries since the Cold War.

23 Nov 2015

Putin Says Eyes Trade Boost with Iran

Vladimir Putin had talks with President of Iran Hassan Rouhani in Tehran. (Photo: President of Russia)

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Monday he wants to boost trade ties with Iran after meeting with leaders of the Islamic Republic in Tehran.   Putin, speaking at joint briefing with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, also said there are plans to create a free trade zone between the Moscow-led economic union of former Soviet Union countries and Iran, as well as increased use of national currencies in trade with Tehran. (Reporting by Denis Pinchuk; writing by Vladimir Soldatkin; Editing by Dominic Evans)

27 Oct 2015

North Pole: The Latest Tourist Trap

Dennis Bryant

On August 16, 2015, the geographic North Pole was visited by a Russian surface ship for the one-hundredth time. The Russian nuclear icebreaker 50 Let Pobedy (50 Years of Victory) carried 106 tourists from 16 different countries. This was the icebreaker’s seventh cruise to the Pole just this season. Each voyage takes just less than two weeks round trip, and that includes a full day of partying at the top of the world. This is all available for a starting cost of $26,995 per person for a basic two-person cabin with a standard twin bed…

03 Sep 2015

Former CIA Spy Ship Becomes Victim of Oil Slump

U.S. Government Photo

A ship built by the CIA for a secret Cold War mission in 1974 to raise a sunken Soviet sub is heading to the scrap yard, a victim of the slide in oil prices. Christened the Hughes Glomar Explorer, after billionaire Howard Hughes was brought in on the CIA's deception, the 619-foot vessel eventually became part of the fleet of ships used by Swiss company Transocean to drill for oil. But the oil price rout means the former spy ship now called GSF Explorer is just one of 40 such offshore drilling rigs that have been consigned to scrap since last year.

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