‘It is sad to say, but we simply do not have our Kazan motor ship today’
“There were ships in the Soviet Union, but not in modern Russia”
Today, the ceremony of transferring the high-speed passenger vessel Meteor 2020 Mikhail Devyataev and the passenger vessel A217-1 to the balance of the newly created Fleet of the Republic of Tatarstan took place in the river port of Kazan. They were built at the Zelenodolsk Shipyard.
“Today is actually a landmark event. There were ships in the Soviet Union, but not in modern Russia. These are probably the first new ships that we are launching. Most importantly, they are produced in our republic, in Zelenodolsk, at the Gorky plant. These are modern ships," said Rustam Minnikhanov, the rais of Tatarstan.
The head of the republic also stressed that Tatarstan has succeeded in creating an infrastructure for ground passenger transportation. However, things are different with the water fleet.
“Of course, the quality of life is determined by transport accessibility, the quality of transport services. We have managed to do a lot in passenger transportation: with buses, trains," the rais said. “As for water transport, we, of course, worked here on the ships that we had. We are handing over the vessels today, and another one is going to be ready in a month. I think that the work will be carried out systematically, and we will completely update the rolling stock.
The preferential position of Tatarstan — at the confluence of two large rivers — obliges the republic to develop shipbuilding, says Roman Lizalin, the director general of the Fleet of the Republic of Tatarstan:
“We are happy people in the sense that we live at the confluence of two huge rivers. This is an absolute advantage of our living with you. We must inevitably use our water resources. We have the beautiful Kazanka River, we have Vyatka, Sviyaga, we have many rivers that we must definitely show to the residents and guests of our region.
“We should popularise our water fleet”
A feature of Meteor 2020 is the greatest comfort of the cabin. It provides ventilation, air conditioning, and heating, said Alexander Filippov, the director general of the Zelenodolsk plant. There are 124 seats here.
“Firstly, it is a comfortable single salon. If earlier in the Meteors there were bow, middle, stern cabins, and richer passengers travelled in the bow cabin, comfortable class passengers travelled in the middle cabin, then it was noisy in the economy cabin in the stern part, and tickets were cheaper. Here, everything is built for passengers," the speaker listed the advantages of Meteor.
As for the A217-1, the vessel is a “workhorse”. According to Filippov, the transport is designed for coastal piers, “where summer residents like to go with bicycles, with bags, with strollers, with trunks, with bags.”
Filippov also said that four more Meteors are currently under construction at the plant — two will go to the balance of the Tatarstan Fleet, two more will go to the Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug.
“No matter how sad it is to say, we simply do not have our Kazan motor ship today. There is one there, we plan to restore it, put it on a cruise destination. We will definitely develop this, too, and do this, too," Lizalin noted in turn.
According to the general director of the company, Tatarstan Fleet has grandiose plans. In the near future, the fleet is going to purchase another A217, use vessels on short excursion routes, and start engaging in social transportation from next year.
“There are really a lot of plans, we need to implement them. <...> We should popularise our water fleet, our profession of a riverman, as it was before," the speaker stressed.
The Fleet of the Republic of Tatarstan JSC was established in Kazan on May 22 of this year, 100% of its authorised capital belongs to Tatarstan. It was created to develop passenger transportation by inland waterway. The idea of its establishment came from the Ministry of Transport and the Ministry of Land and Property of the region.