On Saturday, December 22, the Saratov tanker, strengthened against the ice, will be launched at the Admiralty Shipyards in St.Petersburg. The launching ceremony will be attended by Russian government chairman Mikhail Kasyanov, Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Navy Vladimir Kuroyedov, Transport Minister Sergei Frank. The Saratov is the fourth in a series of this design of ships, built on order from the joint-stock company Lukoil-Arctic-Tanker. Since 1999 the Admiralty Shipyards has already passed to customers the tankers Astrakhan, Magas and Kaliningrad. The contract provides for building five vessels for the Lukoil petroleum company. The Saratov is intended for the carriage of four grades of cargoes simultaneously, including crude oil, oil products, gas condensate and vegetable oils in conditions of the Arctic and freezing seas. In an ice situation the Saratov tanker breaks up to 0.5-meter-thick ice at a speed of two knots. Also today an official ceremony of opening the first stage of the Baltic bulker terminal will be held in the marine port of St.Petersburg. Tentative handling of the first batch of potassium salt will be carried out. The Baltic bulker terminal is a complex for the handling of potassium and nitrogen-phosphorous fertilizer. Its throughput capacity is 5 to 7 million tonnes of cargoes annually. The construction of the terminal began in April 2000. Financing of the 65 million-dollar construction project is done by the joint-stock companies St.Petersburg Sea Port and Uralkali on the parity basis. The total cost of the mineral fertilizer-handling complex, with account of building water-economy facilities, an automobile flyover on Prospekt Stachek and the modernisation of the Avtovo railway station, adds up to 120 million dollars. Start of commercial operation of the first stage of the complex is scheduled for February, 2002.
Forest fires in Siberia have been raging for three months already. They have become a disaster not only of Russian, but of global scale. The fires have already scorched 12 million hectares of land