State-administered port testing as a separate institution began with the adoption of Federal Law No. 131-FZ on 30 August 2012, and is currently in the process of being developed. However, all basins within the Russian inland waterway system will soon be fully staffed by specialists from the state port inspectorates. The inspectors’ main task will be to ensure the complete safety of river shipping. This work has already begun and the first results are in.
“The main violations which inspectors are currently identifying on river boats are connected with fire safety, life-saving equipment, ship documentation, and staff paperwork”, said Evgeny Lepekhin, Deputy Head of the Volga Basin Inland Waterways and Shipping Administration. “The directives issued by the inspectors must be carried out before the next inspection.”
The introduction of a River Information Service (RIS) is also contributing to improving the level of safety on rivers. The information available through the RIS can be used by anyone navigating the inland waterways. The system for the Volga–Baltic Basin is currently being developed.
“The web portal, which specialists are able to access, contains information about sailing conditions, the deployment of the transport fleet, the status of hydraulic systems, and emergency situations along the route”, said Ksenya Belova, an expert at Transas. “The information can be translated into 24 languages, including Russian, and is structured according to international standards. The RIS can therefore be used in any country in the world. Users can receive information by email or text message, as well as accessing it online.”
A resolution outlining the main proposals for the development of river shipping will be produced based on the results of the round table.