Russia has completed building and equipping ten (10) new military bases along its northern Arctic Border and is now imposing new rules for the passage of all warships and submarines in the Northern Sea Route: 45 days notice in advance of travel, subs must sail surfaced, Russian Pilot aboard . . . or the ship and crew WILL BE ARRESTED. Applies only to warships. Merchant shipping unaffected.

The gradual melting of Arctic ice makes the passage of foreign warships near Russia’s northern borders possible. In light of this, a set of rules was introduced for the passage of ships along the Northern Sea Route (NSR)

Russia makes clear all foreign countries must comply with the rules, and there can be no exception made. For example, for a destroyer or an aircraft carrier to enter the zone of the Northern Sea Route, the captain of a foreign ship is supposed to warn the Russian Navy 45 days in advance.

Foreign submarines are required to pass the NSR only in the surfaced position. In addition to the information about the time, the commander of the submarine is obliged to give information about the type of the sub, its displacement, type of power plant and equipment. The commander is also required to report his rank and full name.

A Russian marine pilot will need to stay on board a foreign vessel. If there is a probability that the ship is poorly maintained or may pollute waterways of the Northern Sea Route, Russia has a reason to deny the passage of the foreign vessel.

In the water area of the Northern Sea Route, NATO ships and submarines pose the greatest threat. Therefore, if someone decides to break the rules, foreign vessels will be arrested.

The existence of ten new military bases, and the deployment of attack submarines as seen above, makes such arrests possible. Of course, if the ship refuses to be arrested, it may have to be torpedoed; which Russia is quite able to do.

At least ten military bases have been deployed to defend the northern part of the country. Some of them are designed for air defense systems, while others are designed for surface vessels and submarines.

The new rulebook applies only to warships. Civilian ships can still pass the Northern Sea Route as before. Russia can only profit from assisting foreign merchant ships in passing hazardous areas.

A sea journey from Western Europe to Japan or China is 40% shorter through the Arctic than through the Suez Canal. The countries of East Asia are interested in delivering goods via the Arctic. There are also frequent cases of pirate attacks while passing through the Suez Canal, making the Arctic Route safer.

Therefore, the prospects for the development of the Arctic region are enormous. Russia intends to keep influence and control on this geostrategic area.

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