Russian border checkpoint established on Franz Josef Land
A Russian border checkpoint has been set up on the Franz Josef Land archipelago, the Arkhangelsk regional government's press service reports.
Earlier, the Russian government supported the Arkhangelsk regional government's initiative and incorporated a portion of the water area around Franz Josef Land within the boundaries of the Arkhangelsk sea port. This provided the opportunity to establish a border checkpoint for passenger ships on the archipelago.
According to Acting Governor of the Arkhangelsk Region Igor Orlov, this measure will encourage passenger ships to enter the Russian Arctic National Park, promote tourism and the growth of the region's economy.
The first foreign ship to cross the border through the new checkpoint was The Sea Spirit cruise ship following the route Spitzbergen — Franz Josef Land — Spitzbergen. On July 7, it received permission to navigate the archipelago's inland waters without entering a Russian port, like Murmansk or Archangelsk.
Two more port calls on Franz Josef Land are planned for cruise ships in 2015, and in 2017-2018 the number of cruises is expected to reach ten.
According to Director of the Russian Arctic National Park Roman Yershov, the opening of the naval border checkpoint will shorten the travel time on the transit route between Spitzbergen and Franz Josef Land by three days, substantially reducing the cost of logistics for ships.