Russian naval vessels arrest cargo ship in NSR

The Russian Navy's Vice-Admiral Kulakov anti-submarine destroyer takes part in a ceremony to mark Russian Navy Day. Credit: Peter KovalevTASS via Getty Images

Russian naval vessels have stopped 7,625 dwt general cargo vessel S Kuznetsov in the Solnechnaya Bay, part of the Northern Sea Route (NSR), accusing it of violating maritime law.

Anti-submarine vessel Vice-Admiral Kulakov, part of Russia’s Northern Fleet, stopped S Kuznetsov and sent marines in speedboats to board as part of a joint operation with the Russian coastguard. It is the first intervention made by the Northern Fleet in the NSR.

A 2016 Russian bill gives the coastguard dispensation to autonomously bring charges against vessels in the area. The Northern Fleet reports that it is establishing a legal case against the vessel.

No specific details of the reasons for the stop have been given, but permits from the Sea Route Administration indicate that the Russian-flagged ice-class vessel S Kuznetsov has clearance to travel the NSR unimpeded until the beginning of 2020. The vessel was arrested off the Taymyr Peninsula, which is the location of a new Russian military base.