MOSCOW, August 8 (RIA Novosti) – Russia’s Audit Chamber on Thursday published a damning report on the condition of Russia’s river transport system, describing unfit vessels operating under outdated regulations.
Most of the vessels operating in Russia’s inland waterways were put into operation 50-70 years ago, or even earlier, while regulations governing the sector were adopted in the 1970s and 1990s and have not been updated, the report says.
Just 24 percent of vessels operating are deemed to be in “a useable technical condition,” the report says.
In July 2011 a passenger ship, the Bulgaria, sank on the Volga River, killing 122 people. Russian media reports called the tragedy the worst to take place on Russia’s rivers in recent history.
The boat was built in 1955 and had a number of safety faults – including a broken engine and a starboard list. Although it was also overloaded and operating without a license when it sank, the incident threw problems in regulating Russia’s waterways into the spotlight.