Russia to build first cruise liner in 60 years

Moscow, May 17 (IANS) A major Russian shipbuilding company here on Tuesday announced plans to build the country’s first cruise liner since the 1950s, saying construction will begin this year.

According to Aleksey Rakhmanov, president of Russia’s United Shipbuilding Corporation (USC), it will continue to construct vessels and various marine engineering for the oil and gas industries.

Established in 2007, USC is the largest shipbuilding company in Russia. The state-owned firm unites shipyards, design offices and ship repair facilities, accounting for 80 percent of the domestic shipbuilding industry.

Since Turkey and Egypt became off-limits for Russian tourists, there has been an approximately 800 percent hike in bookings for cruise liners inside the country, according to RT online who attributed to a media report. The most popular destinations were river cruises from Moscow to St. Petersburg and Kazan.

The Soviet Union had a fleet of ocean liners that made cruises on the Black and Baltic Seas. These ships were mostly built in East Germany, Finland and Yugoslavia. The vast majority of these vessels, operated in the Soviet era, have now been written off for scrap.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia had troubles with local shipbuilding, as many technologies were lost in the 1990s. According to Rakhmanov, USC is now trying to catch up with something that has not been done in the last 20 to 25 years.

–IANS

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