November 9, 2020
Residents and guests of the Kuril Islands will not suffer from the budget cuts in the region, the government promises. 13.9 billion rubles have been allocated for the “Islands Development” program by the regional treasury. Kuril residents are not threatened with forced isolation either – Sakhalin transport minister Valery Spichenko assured that the region will continue to subsidize as many flights to the islands as necessary. Moreover, in spring a brand new motor vessel will join the airplanes and the old ship “Igor Farkhutdinov”.This year, the Nevsky Shipbuilding Plant is completing the construction of two vessels for the Kuril Islands. The sea trials of the first ship have already begun, and the second is to be tested in the near future. We are waiting for the ships to arrive at Sakhalin in March 2021, and in April we plan to put the first ship on the line,” Mr. Spichenko reported.
The government has less specific information about the new ferries. One of them has already been towed to Vladivostok for completion at the “Dalzavod” Shipyard, the second is still at the Amur Shipyard in Komsomolsk-on-Amur. So far, the planned completion date for both vessels is set for 2022, but it may be changed for later. The Amur Shipyard already had difficulties with the construction of both ferries, and the date of their commissioning had to be postponed.
Another good news for travel enthusiasts is that even the global economic crisis and COVID-19 pandemic have not forced the regional authorities to abandon plans for “sea trams” along the Western coast of Sakhalin Island. Now the regional Ministry of Transport is engaged in the selection of a vessel for cruising along the picturesque coast. It should be comfortable and fast. Finally, railroad news. Three new rail buses, codenamed “Orlan”, are due to arrive in the region this month. Two of them will also be equipped for long-haul lines and, possibly, will ride between Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk and Poronaysk Town or even Nogliki settlement. 18 new rail cars have also been purchased recently by the passenger company “Sakhalin”.