Russian state visit highlights Finnish connections

August 15, 2017

The recent visit by Russian President Vladimir Putin to meet Finnish counterpart and President Sauli Niinistö of Finland points to strengthening bilateral relations which will inevitably have consequences for shipping and shipbuilding.

July’s one-day summit included a focus on Finland’s chairmanship of the Arctic Council between 2017-2019 and its declared priorities of environmental protection, connectivity, meteorological cooperation and education. The two presidents discussed how to reduce harmful emissions in the Arctic regions, an area where they agreed much could be achieved through working together.

Business ties between the two countries are strong and nowhere is this more evident than in the maritime sector. USC's Arctech Helsinki Shipyard is building a series of icebreakers and other Arctic class vessels for Russian interests. Notable deliveries from the Helsinki yard to Sovcomflot this year include the icebreaking standby vessel Stepan Makarov, handed over in June, and the icebreaking supply vessel, Gennadiy Nevelskoy, the first of four sister vessels, delivered in March.

Finland will also play a major role in the replenishment of Russia’s fishing fleet. In early August, Finnish group Wärtsilä secured a contract to provide the engines and propulsion package for two new fishing trawlers being built for Murmansk-based Nord Pilgrim Ltd. at the PJSC Vyborg shipyard in Russia. The scope of supply includes 8-cylinder Wärtsilä 32 main engines, gearboxes, controllable pitch propellers, transverse thrusters, and the Wärtsilä ProTouch propulsion control system. Wärtsilä will support this contract through its service facilities in Murmansk.

NEVA 2017 is acknowledging the significance of relations in a special Russian-Finland Seminar for Cooperation in Shipbuilding on September 20th. Meanwhile, the Russian Federation Ministry of Agriculture has recognised the significance of NEVA 2017 as a focus for fishing fleet revitalisation by offering official support to the St Petersburg event for the first time. NEVA will host the 2nd International Conference ‘Renewing the Fishery and Fish Research Fleet’.