The Marshal Rokossovsky is Russia’s first Arc4 ice-class dual-fuel ferry designed to carry railway cars with Russia’s standard gauge of 1,520 mm, as well as highway freighters and passenger cars. The first railway cars will be rolled onto the ferry on March 4, after which it will operate on the Ust-Luga – Baltiysk line.
Using eco-friendly fuel on the ferry will reduce CO2 emissions by 20 to 30 percent compared to similar ships running on traditional heavy fuel, as well as achieve a more than 90 percent reduction in nitrogen oxide emissions and eliminate sulphur oxide and soot emissions altogether.
The flag-raising ceremony took place on the car and auto ferry complex at Ust-Luga, a seaport in the Leningrad Region.
Taking part in the ceremony, also by videoconference from Moscow, were Minister of Transport Vitaly Savelyev and Russian Railways CEO – Chairman of the Executive Board Oleg Belozerov, while Governor of the Leningrad Region Alexander Drozdenko, General Director of Rosmorport Sergei Pylin and his deputy for fleet management Vasily Strugov, as well as the ferry’s captain Alexander Vangonen joined the event via videoconference from the Leningrad Region, and Governor of the Kaliningrad Region Anton Alikhanov participated from the Kaliningrad Region.
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Speech at the flag-raising ceremony
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Friends, good afternoon,
I am glad to see all of you.
In just a few minutes, Russia’s state flag will be raised above the new car and auto ferry, named in honour of our great military commander, two-time Hero of the Soviet Union Konstantin Rokossovsky.
Already today, this state-of-the-art vessel will sail off to the Kaliningrad Region carrying essential goods for its residents, as well as construction materials and other cargo for the key sectors of the region’s economy. The overall shipments between Ust-Luga and Baltiysk will increase more than 1.5-fold to two million tonnes per year. The new ferry will be able to navigate the high seas even in the most challenging weather conditions and sail the winter seas without being accompanied by an icebreaker.
Thanks to the maritime transport of this class, we can guarantee strong reliable connections between Russia’s western outposts and the rest of the country. This means that, no matter what happens, we can ensure decent living conditions for people, opportunities for further improvement of the industrial, social and tourist infrastructure in the Kaliningrad Region, for uninterrupted supplies and the continuous operation of companies and facilities in the region.
I want to thank all those who participated in this extremely important transport project, for their hard work. Resources of the state and the potential of Russia’s leading companies and research institutions that offered advanced technical solutions, including eco-friendly solutions, were focused on this project.
This ferry can operate on LNG or diesel fuel but with high environmental parameters, which should reduce hazardous emissions by more than 90 percent and protect the environment and the waters of the Baltic Sea.
The General Chernyakhovsky ferry, which is currently under construction, also has similar modern characteristics. The Marshal Vasilevsky tanker with gas liquefaction equipment that will provide an autonomous gas supply to Russia’s western outpost, if necessary, is already anchored in the port of Kaliningrad.
It is symbolic that these modern and technology-intensive vessels are named after our outstanding military commanders who liberated our country and the rest of the world from Nazism. For these truly courageous people and true patriots, the independence and sovereignty of our Fatherland mattered more than anything else. They saved and protected our country, showing us, future generations, that we must be strong and keep moving forwards.
No matter how hard and difficult it may be, we will continue our development. We will improve the transport and logistics infrastructure across the entire country and, of course, in the Baltics, on our Arctic territories and the Russian Far East, including the construction of new modern ferries for Sakhalin and the Kuril Islands. I am certain that our companies, design and engineering bureaux will be able to fulfil these tasks.
Now I want to pass the floor to Minister of Transport Vitaly Savelyev who will present a report.
Mr Savelyev, please.
Minister of Transport Vitaly Savelyev: Thank you.
Mr President, colleagues,
I am happy to salute you at the ceremony of raising the state flag of the Russian Federation on our new ferry, the Marshall Rokossovsky. The launch of a new ferry is a very important, symbolic event for us.
The ferry can carry up to 80 carriages or 78 vehicles. Importantly, the speed of loading it will be four times faster than on existing ferries – as few as five hours instead of 20.
As you have said, Mr President, this year we expect one more ferry of the same class to be completed, which will be named in honour of General Chernyakhovsky. Both ferries will operate on the Ust-Luga – Baltiysk line, thus making the Kaliningrad Region more accessible to transport. Indicatively, in the future, both ferries will be used in the autonomous ship navigation project.
Marine transport is moving ahead in the wake of digitisation. All this is making the process of transport management more efficient. New ferries are yet another step in ensuring reliable transport access to our entire territory. We will continue to further develop marine transport.
I wish success to all my colleagues.
I am grateful for your attention. Thank you.
Vladimir Putin: Thank you, Mr Savelyev.
Mr Alikhanov, Governor of the Kaliningrad Region. Go ahead, please.
Kaliningrad Region Governor Anton Alikhanov: Mr President, colleagues,
Mr President, I would like to thank you for the attention that you personally devote to issues related to the development of the Kaliningrad Region.
As mentioned earlier, the ferry Marshall Rokossovsky is the first ferry built under the plan for ensuring transport access to the Kaliningrad Region. This plan is aimed at ensuring the transport security of our region.
For our region, ferry transport is the only way of maintaining regular connections with the rest of the Russian Federation, which does not depend on the policy of adjacent states.
The new ferry will substantially improve logistical access to our region under any possible restrictions on passage via the territory of adjacent states. It will remove the risks of the lack of alternative routes for the delivery of socially important and special cargo via the Baltic states.
Mr President, I would like to once again thank you and our colleagues from the Government, who have worked actively on this project.
And of course, we are looking forward to receiving the other new ferry. We are ready to load it with products made in our region for the needs of other regions in the Russian Federation.
Thank you very much. I wish you a safe trip.
Vladimir Putin: Mr Alikhanov, you have mentioned neighbouring countries. I would like to stress once again that we have – we have always said this – no evil intentions with regard to our neighbours. I would like to advise them not to foment tensions either and refrain from introducing restrictions.
We fulfil and will continue to fulfil all our obligations, and we see no need to increase tensions or make our relations worse. All our actions, if they arise, are always taken solely in response to unfriendly actions with respect to the Russian Federation.
I think everyone should give consideration to the need to normalise relations and cooperate in a normal way, to promote relations in a normal way. As for projects like this, they certainly increase logistical independence, and we will continue working on this.
Please, I see that this event is being attended by Mr Belozerov, CEO of Russian Railways, our leading company.
Mr Belozerov, if you have something to add to what has been said by our colleagues, please do.
General Director and Chairman of the Executive Board of Russian Railways Oleg Belozerov: Thank you very much.
Mr President, colleagues,
The raising of the Russian Federation state flag on the Marshal Rokossovsky ferry and the commissioning of the ferry is a new qualitative step in the development of the mixed railway-ferry service.
Jointly with the sailors, we are confidently progressing towards the implementation of the plans to ensure our country’s full transport connectivity. In the two months since the start of 2021, the railway-ferry service has grown by one-quarter and we expect a strong increase in the future.
In addition to advanced seaworthiness, the new ferry will create additional opportunities for cutting costs and implementing technological operations. We have always focused on ensuring the reliability and stability of the railway-ferry service and will do so in the future.
Vladimir Putin: Thank you.
Leningrad Region Governor Drozdenko, please go ahead. One of the points, the point where we are now, the port of Ust-Luga, is located in the Leningrad Region.
Please go ahead.
Governor of the Leningrad Region Alexander Drozdenko: Mr President, colleagues,
For us, the Leningrad Region, it is a great honour to have the Rosmorport-commissioned Marshal Rokossovsky ferry, which is Russia’s first dual-fuel road and rail ferry, and which was built at the Nevsky Shipyard in St Petersburg.
This shows that we can build modern sea vessels and sea ferries. Another ferry, Army General Ivan Chernyakhovsky, is under construction. These ferries will be instrumental in connecting the Leningrad Region, Russia and Kaliningrad. They will provide a reliable transport link.
Vladimir Putin: Mr Drozdenko, we have discussed this issue with you before. Today, I discussed it with the President of Belarus. Our Belarusian friends are interested in having a presence in the Baltic Sea area and are interested in developing their own port facilities.
As you are aware, I support this project, and I asked you to come up with whatever assistance you can provide. This would be various locations, points and structures where our Belarusian friends can pursue these projects. I will not go into detail now as the alternatives vary, and you are aware of this. I would like to revisit this issue later, and I want you to support these plans.
They are important for Belarus, and for us as well, because they involve the expansion of our infrastructure, the development of our coastal areas, and an increase in cargo volume for our country. Accordingly, the benefits derived by Belarus will largely overflow into our economy. We are interested in promoting this project, so I want you to support these undertakings. But this is just a side note.
And now I would like to give the floor to the captain of the Marshal Rokossovsky, Mr Vangonen.
Please, Mr Vangonen.
Captain of the Marshal Rokossovsky vessel Alexander Vangonen: Mr President of the Russian Federation,
The ferry Marshal Rokossovsky has successfully completed its journey from the shipyard to its home port. At this time, the ship is fully ready to begin service on the Ust-Luga – Baltiysk line.
I am asking for your permission to raise the state flag of the Russian Federation.
Vladimir Putin: Permission granted to raise the state flag of the Russian Federation.
Alexander Vangonen: Raise the national flag of the Russian Federation.
(The Russian anthem plays.)
The national flag of the Russian Federation has been raised.
Vladimir Putin: Thank you very much, Mr Vangonen.
I would like to say a few words to conclude this ceremony, the important event we are attending today.
The national flag of Russia has been raised on the Marshal Rokossovsky ferry. I repeat, the ship has been engineered in our design bureaux using innovative domestic technology.
True, it has been an international project that included many of our partners, including some of our foreign partners. We are aware of this, but the innovative solutions used are actually Russian.
We have repeatedly shown and are ready to prove once again that if someone does not want to cooperate with us and they are prepared to harm themselves like this, they will, of course, harm us too, but how? We will just have to shift a few projects to the right a little, gain some additional competencies – just as we have for a number of other projects, for example, in aviation – but we will attain our goals nevertheless, we will solve our problems anyway. And what's more, we will even ultimately benefit from this because, as I said, we will acquire additional competencies. We are capable of solving such problems.
This is how we must implement all our plans for social, economic and infrastructure development – based on the most advanced environmental and technological standards so that our projects and products contribute to high quality of life for the people and the national economy’s resilience against external shock. As I have said, we will certainly resolve these problems.
I would like to wish you all great successes, and to the crew of the Marshal Rokossovsky, successful work.
Thank you all very much. Thank you.