MOSCOW, August 4 (Itar-Tass) — A situation close to catastrophic has been identified at the water transport and “numerous flagrant violations” by prosecutors during a large-scale inspection organised by the Prosecutor General’s Office in the aftermath of the Bulgaria pleasure boat sinking on the Volga River.
Rossiiskaya Gazeta writes that the inspectors placed the main emphasis on the safety of navigation. Their general conclusion is that it is dangerous, because there is little care about the water transport navigation order. Simply shocking figures were cited – there are more than 700 vessels in Russia aged over 30 years that transport passengers. Prosecutors claim that ship owners very often take an irresponsible approach to keeping their vessels afloat and in a normal technical condition.
The Prosecutor General’s Office is dismayed by the results of its own inspection of river vessels, Moskovsky Komosomolets stresses.
The Volga region’s transport prosecutor Sergei Belov told the newspaper that “among the main exposed violations it is possible to name the improper condition of the emergency exits, namely – the lack of a developed system of evacuation and handing out life jackets, insufficient number of children’s life jackets and documents on their testing. In addition, the number of the crew in many cases was found to be inconsistent with the legislation currently in effect, there have been no projects for vessels’ design modifications, non-compliance with the norms of their maximum loading, untimely presentation of vessels for regular certification, the use of navigation equipment without approval by the Russian River Register and the absence or careless filling out of documents.”
“I hope that now everybody has understood that it is necessary to introduce a special service at each port that will be able to control vessels and their condition, including issue permissions for leaving the port,” Novye Izvestiya quotes deputy head of the Moscow State Academy of Water Transport Vladimir Yakunchikov. According to him, the state neglects the development of the tourism fleet, although this niche has a major financial potential.
“Now we have to go back to the construction of cruise ships and large vessels,” he added. “But this is ‘long’ money – they are to pay back only in 10-15 years, but very few people are interested in it in our country.”