Warships of Russia’s Northern Fleet sail to Arctic waters
A convoy with four warships and three support vessels that left the Northern Fleet’s main base Severomorsk on August 10th anchored outside Russia’s Arctic outpost Dikson on Tuesday.
Navy spokesperson, Captain Vadim Serga, says to Murmanski Vestnik that the vessels were practicing joint manoeuvres in the Kara Sea. Now the convoy continues up the Yenisey river to the port of Dudinka. Yenisei is the largest river that flows into the Arctic Ocean and Dudinka is an important harbour for cobber and nickel from the industrial city of Norilsk.
The Navy has not announced from where the warships will sail after, but it is expected they will continue further east along the Northern Sea Route. Last year, a detachment of Northern Fleet ships got assistance from nuclear powered icebreakers and sailed all the way east to the Kotelny Island, part of the archipelago New Siberia Islands between the Laptev Sea and the East Siberia Sea.
This year, the large anti-submarine ship “Severomorsk” heads the naval group. Other navy vessels sailing are the three amphibious ships “Kondapoga”, “Aleksandr Otrakovsky” and “Georgiy Pobedonosets”. The three support vessels are the tanker “Sergey Osipov”, the rescue tug “Pamir” and the craneship “KIL-164”, the naval portal Flot.com reports.
Sixth naval Arctic voyage
Russia’s Northern Fleet started voyages along the Northern Sea Route in 2012 when the largest warship of them all, the nuclear-powered battle-cruiser “Pyotr Velikiy” sailed into the Kara Sea on a training mission.
In 2013, the second naval task force, also headed by “Pyotr Velikiy”, sailed east to the New Siberian Islands for the first time, carrying out a number of training missions. The convoy consisted of more than ten vessels, and the campaign was said to be part of the Ministry of Defence’s initiative to fulfil the Russian state’s Arctic policy. The policy says Russia is the leading Arctic power.
In 2014, an exercise involving landing vessels took place at the New Siberian Islands and in 2015, soldiers from Russia’s new Arctic Brigade in Alakurtti on the Kola Peninsula took part in the exercise for the first time. Participating vessels made port call to several Arctic ports before arriving at the New Siberian Islands.
Last year, the Northern Fleet’s destroyer “Vice-Admiral Kulakov” headed the group of warships that sailed to the Kotelny Island, where surface-to-air-missiles were fired and cruise missiles launched, the Barents Observer reported. The Northern Fleet vessels were also engaged in drills near Russia’s only offshore oil production platform, the Prirazlomnaya in the eastern Barents Sea.