Illegal dumping of boats threatens the Kola Gulf

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There are currently six dumping grounds for boats in the Barents Sea’s Kola Gulf, to say nothing of individual sunken vessels and fragments. The supports of the aged Hutton oil rig are also neglected and its owners are ducking their responsibilities, while ecologists are sounding the alarm.

A report on ecological problems affecting coastal areas of the Murmansk Region was presented on Tuesday in Murmansk. Using the Kola Gulf as an example, the report, by the Environmental Harmony Evolution Fund and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), investigates problems of dealing with abandoned and sunken boats, presents ecological monitoring data from the Kola Gulf, and makes recommendations on reducing the ecological effects on the area.

According to report author Vladimir Bakharev, the main problems are a lack of control at every level of the executive branch and that no governmental structures have been made responsible for dealing with abandoned marine vessels. Both diesel-powered submarines and oil-rig legs are currently left unsupervised.

Hutton oil platform

The Hutton oil platform arrived in the Kola Gulf three years ago. The platform was built and installed by American oil giant Conoco in the British sector of the North Sea in 1984. In 1994 Conoco transferred the platform and the field to the American energy company Oryx, which in turn was bought by the US company Kerr-McGee at the end of 1998.

In 2002 extraction stopped in the field, and the platform was sold for $29 million to Monitor TLP Ltd., which is registered in the tax haven of the Cayman Islands; Monitor TLP immediately resold the platform to Russia for $67 million. The shady nature of the deal prompted fears about further infringements even then.

The company that bought the platform, Sevmorneftegaz