The idea to organize a passenger ferry from Baltiisk (the Kaliningrad region) to St.Petersburg on the basis of a #3 basin belonging to the Baltic Naval base will not affect alertness of the Baltic Fleet. This was said by Russian Navy vice-admiral Valery Aibund responsible for construction, engineer support and quarterage of the Navy. Valery Aibund presented the ferry project to Russian Parliament Speaker Gennady Seleznev.
RF Government decreed on July 9 that the Defense Ministry should hand the basin’s water area, berths and neighboring land in Baltiisk over to the RF Transport Ministry for fifteen years with a view of commercial navigation organizing. A terminal for reception of passenger ferries arriving from St.Petersburg is planned to be constructed in Baltiisk by the end of the year. It is already decided that Mikhail Sholokhov ferry, that can transport simultaneously 500 passengers and 130 cars, will perform the transportation. In the future, a railway ferry for passenger and freight cars is to be constructed to connect the port Eastern near Baltiisk with the port of Ust-Luga in the Leningrad region. The ferry is planned to be set in operation in 2005. In Gennady Seleznev’s words, the ferry is a good solution of the connection problem for the Kaliningrad region and the rest of Russia. However, the ferry is not a complete alternative to the present-day railway and automobile transit via territories of Lithuania and Belarus. The problem is to be thoroughly discussed with the European Union; Russia plans to defend its position and press for freedom of movement to Russian people and freight.
Roman Kiselev PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Maria Gousseva
Read the original in Russian: http://pravda.ru/north-west/2002/07/17/44262.html