North Korea Launching Ferry Service to Russian Federation

Terrell Bush
May 20, 2017

The first cargo-passenger ferry service between Russian Federation and North Korea was completed on Thursday.

The ferry will travel weekly between Russia's far eastern city of Vladivostok and the North Korean port of Rajin, also called Rason, said Vladimir Baranov, director of InvestStroiTrest, the company that operates the Man Gyong Bong boat that will service the route.

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

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. China has no ports on the sea of Japan, so travelling to North Korea and on to Vladivostok is the quickest way of reaching Vladivostok by sea."It's our business, of our company, without any state subsidies, involvement and help", Mikhail Khmel, the deputy director of Investstroytrest, the Russian Federation firm operating the ferry, told reporters at the port.

Tensions have risen in the Korean peninsula over Pyongyang's test launch of a ballistic missile.

The vessel will travel weekly between the city of Vladivostok in eastern Russian Federation and the North Korean port of Rajin.

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 company expects most of its passengers to be Chinese tourists, who will be able to visit both Russia's Primorye region and North Korea in one trip.

"Man Gyong Bong's operation as Rajin-Vladivostok global tourist liner will make a positive contribution to developing marine transport and economic cooperation and tourism between the two countries", adds KCNA. Chinese tourists are expected to use the service to visit communist North Korea and Russian Federation.

This week the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, said he was against expanding the "club of nuclear powers ... but we must stop intimidating North Korea".

Russia's close economic links with North Korea date back to the Cold War, when they were ideological allies hostile to the West.

Other reports by TheDigitalNewspaper

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