Russia launches ferry connection with N Korea

20 May, 2017, 03:49 | Author: Valerie Burke
  • Russia launches ferry connection with N Korea

The ferry service is expected to carry up to 200 passengers and 1,000 tonnes of cargo six times a month between North Korea and Vladivostok.

The launch of the route comes at a time when many North Korean merchants ships are badly in need of fix.

The trip marks the beginning of a once-weekly regular cargo-passenger service, TASS added.

Mikhail Khmel, deputy director general of Investstroytrest, which owns RosKor, the ferry's operator, was quoted, as saying "These are Russian citizens, who are returning from North Korea, and tourists from China".

Baranov said sixty tourists from China have already booked a trip on the next boat, which has 40 cabins as well as bars and a karaoke room, according to the company website.

Chinese tourists find Mangyongbong extremely interesting, they expect to use the service to visit communist North Korea and Russian Federation, legendary countries.

Before the trial run this week, the North Korean ferry was in a rusted state and docked at Rajin port.

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The Port State Control Committee of the Asia-Pacific published 2016 data on North Korea merchant ships that indicate the vessels on average were found to have eight safety issues per ship.

The Mangyongbong will shuttle between Rajin and Vladivostok once a week.

Now, with Russian Federation and China practically the only states prepared to deal with North Korea, travel companies from the two countries are attempting to establish tourist links according to various press releases.

"While Russia is concerned about North Korea and its missiles, it also sees North Korea as an opportunity to gain leverage with the West, the USA in particular", said Matthew Chance, CNN Senior International Correspondent based in Moscow.

Though Russian President Vladimir Putin has condemned the missile launch as "dangerous", he also warned against "intimidating" North Korea, a neighboring country that shares a 17 kilometer (11 mile) land border with Russia.

The Mangyongbong was in service between the North and Japan before Japan suspended its operations in 2006 after a North Korean missile test.

"Russia doesn't want North Korea to have nuclear weapons, but the response from officials in Moscow has been minimal because they know Russian Federation isn't one of Pyongyang's targets", he added.

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