'The equipment and infrastructure at the Primorsk port in the Gulf of Finland look extremely modern,' said Hannu Ahonen, the head of the Finnish Border Guards, at a meeting yesterday with Konstantin Totsky, the director of the Russian Federal Border Guards. During the trip to Primorsk (Leningrad Region), the heads of the two countries' border guards inspected the port's docks and terminals, examined infrastructural development plans up to 2004, and also looked at equipment intended for cleaning up oil spills.
Ahonen and Totsky also familiarized themselves with the work performed by the Russian section of the joint Russian-Estonian-Finnish system for monitoring the movement of vessels in the Gulf of Finland. According to Mikhail Kochkin, the harbourmaster at the Primorsk port, once two shore-based radar stations and four located on islands have been erected, it will be possible to follow the movement of vessels along the whole length of the gulf. All three countries' coast guards will be able to exchange information on the movement of vessels and ice. The software for the computerised monitoring system was developed by a Russian company and will be used jointly by all three countries.
Kochkin also said that Transneft currently has 10 oil reservoirs, each with a capacity of 50 thousand tonnes, at the Primorsk port. Since the beginning of 2003, 800 thousand tonnes of oil has passed through the Primorsk terminal. The harbourmaster said that regardless of the situation concerning ice there have not been any emergencies.
Kochkin said that once the port reaches full capacity, it will be able to handle over 20 million tonnes of oil and petrochemicals each year. According to the harbourmaster, there is nothing to suggest that construction work will not be completed on time. Construction of the second stage of the port's infrastructure is planned to be completed by 2004.