President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has attended a ceremony to launch the first tanker built at Baku Shipyard on the order of the Azerbaijan Caspian Sea Shipping Closed Joint-Stock Company and the commissioning of “Azerbaijan” ferry boat.
Chairman of the Azerbaijan Caspian Sea Shipping Company Closed Joint-Stock Company Rauf Valiyev informed the head of state about the tanker.
The first oil tanker “Lachin” was built by local specialists on the design of the Odessa Bureau of Marine Engineering.
Rauf Valiyev: Actually, this is the first time in the history of Azerbaijan. There was a great need for that. In fact, it was built in Azerbaijan from scratch.
President Ilham Aliyev: This shows again that we made the right decision. The construction of a shipyard is indeed a major event. All the vessels we need can now be produced in Azerbaijan. Both a tanker and a ferry have been built here for the first time in history.
Rauf Valiyev: Mr. President, the tanker is 141 meters long and 16.9 meters wide. The weight of the vessel is 7,875 tons.
President Ilham Aliyev: Was the project developed here?
Rauf Valiyev: Yes, this is a Volga-Don MAX project. The tanker can pass through the Volga-Don canal and has the maximum load capacity. Unlike others, it is capable of passing through this canal with a cargo of more than 4,000-5,000 tons.
President Ilham Aliyev: Usually smaller vessels can pass through Volga-Don. Can this one go too?
Rauf Valiyev: Yes, it is able to go through there with a maximum load of 5,600 tons.
President Ilham Aliyev: Very good! How many of such tankers have we built?
Rauf Valiyev: In total, we have 20 tankers. With your support, four have been ordered and are now under construction.
President Ilham Aliyev: And the plant is working. Jobs have been created. We provide the plant with orders ourselves now. Most of the financial burden on the construction of ships has been assumed by the Caspian Shipping Company, right?
Rauf Valiyev: Yes, 30 percent is provided by the state.
President Ilham Aliyev: Thirty percent is provided by state and 70 percent by shipping company. This suggests that the shipping company works with a profit that does not go out and stays in Azerbaijan. Tankers and ferries are produced in Azerbaijan. So the money stays in our country. There was a time when the Caspian Shipping Company received subsidies from the state, paying only 1 million manats in taxes. But measures were taken afterwards, including personnel reforms. Now the Azerbaijan Caspian Sea Shipping Company has reached excellent standards and operates as an international company.
Rauf Valiyev: Thank you very much, Mr. President, with your support.
President Ilham Aliyev: Today we have the largest fleet in the Caspian – we have more than 200 vessels. New vessels are being commissioned. Their number will grow.
It should be noted that the “Lachin” tanker will not only provide transportation of oil and oil products in the Caspian, but also the transportation of liquid cargo to other basins through the Volga-Don and Volga-Baltic canals. The construction of a new generation tanker is yet another success of the Baku Shipyard, which plays an important role in strengthening the economic and industrial potential of Azerbaijan. At present, negotiations are under way on the construction of various ships that are necessary for the fleet of the Closed Joint-Stock Company “Azerbaijan Caspian Shipping Company”. Among them are dry cargo vessels, container ships, cranes, fire-fighting, supply and transport vessels, tugboats.
President Ilham Aliyev pressed the button symbolizing the commissioning of the “Lachin” tanker.
President Ilham Aliyev: Azerbaijan will provide the plant with orders itself. Please try to be able to provide these services to neighboring countries in order to earn more.
Rauf Valiyev: The first vessel was named by you, “Azerbaijan”.
President Ilham Aliyev: Yes, it should be called "Azerbaijan". Where was this project designed?
Rauf Valiyev: This project was also designed by the Odessa Marine Engineering Bureau. Our company cooperates with it. This vessel will be able to take on board more automobiles and TIR trucks than others.
President Ilham Aliyev: Is it bigger than the other ferries we have?
Rauf Valiyev: Yes, it can take on 56 wagons and 50 TIR trucks. We made it multifunctional. That is, in addition to wagons and TIR trucks, it can also take 100 passengers.
President Ilham Aliyev then attended a ceremony to launch Ro-Pax type ferry boat “Azerbaijan” built at Baku Shipyard which will carry the first passengers, cars and railway vehicles.
President Ilham Aliyev pressed the button symbolizing the commissioning of the “Azerbaijan” ferry boat.
Rauf Valiyev: Mr. President, over the past 20 years, together with our partners we acquired 10 vessels of this type. But they are all a little smaller than this one.
President Ilham Aliyev: Is five vessels enough for us?
Rauf Valiyev: So far it is. Typically, vessels of this type are delivered under pre-signed long-term contracts. We simply acquired them taking into account further needs and the current situation. All the vessels acquired today are specified in the contract. We received five of them this year, four last year and two more earlier. All of the 11 ships we have delivered over two years are stipulated in the contract.
President Ilham Aliyev: Are there any idle vessels?
Rauf Valiyev: No.
President Ilham Aliyev pressed the button symbolizing the commissioning of the “Khojaly”, “Guba”, “Murovdag”, “Savalan” and “Shahdag” platform supply vessels.
Rauf Valiyev: As I have already reported to you, these vessels are used not only for supply, but also in fire safety. “Khojaly” and “Guba” are the largest vessels of this type in the Caspian Sea.
President Ilham Aliyev: Are they different from other vessels?
Rauf Valiyev: Yes, these vessels are larger in volume. All five vessels have arrived, they are stipulated in the contract.
President Ilham Aliyev: Great. Is the crew also formed?
Rauf Valiyev: Yes, the crew is composed of Azerbaijanis by 100 percent. The main thing is that usually for the implementation of oil and gas projects long-term contracts were signed with foreign operators. These vessels were sometimes ordered one year ahead, but six months later we had to sign another contract. So foreign companies were paid money for the remaining six months. We agreed with the State Oil Company, BP and Total that they would provide their forecast. Based on the forecasts, we try to leave the vessels that will be required for further projects here. They pay only for the necessary period.
President Ilham Aliyev: Great! Of course, this is more logical.
Rauf Valiyev: Yes, thank you very much!
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