Transboundary agreement between Russia & Estonia makes shipping traffic possible on Lake Peipsi after ten-year break
Monday, March 25, 2002
Peipsi Center for Transboundary Cooperation
Liina Tõnisson, Minister of Economic Affairs of Estonia and Sergei Frank, Ministry of Transportation of Russia, signed a transnational agreement which makes shipping traffic possible on Lake Peipsi, Lake Pskov and on Lämmijärv, after a ten-year-long- break.
The agreement stipulates the rules and conditions for shipping traffic on the waterways of Lake Peipsi, Lake Pskov and Lämmijärv basins. Both countries assume liabilities to guarantee equal treatment of ships and crew members as to their own ships, and the servicing in concerted ports and landing places.
In her interview to the newspaper “Postimees”, Liina Tõnisson assured that in summer, ships would indeed be crossing the lake. In addition to the signed agreement, another one is needed for this purpose, to be concluded by the two Ministries of Foreign Affairs, stipulating the locations of border and customs stations. According to Tõnisson, the mentioned document has been completed and the signing should take place as early as in April.
Shipping traffic across Lake Peipsi halted soon after Estonia re-gained independence, when an imaginary legal border emerged in the middle of Lake Peipsi. The restoration of shipping traffic has been obstructed by the absence of a transnational agreement, which was prepared for five years.
Both the Pskov Oblast in Russia, and Estonia, are extremely interested in the restoration of shipping traffic. The inhabitants of Pskov hope that the shipping route proceeding from Tartu would bring tourists to the city. Liina Tõnisson predicts that instead of tourism it would be the log rafters who gain more profit from shipping traffic, as they can fetch the timber from Russia to Estonia, by way of the waterway; in addition, economy is interested in Russia’s peat, gravel and sand.
Tourists are interested that visas could be bought in the port, but probably, visa-related issues will, however, impede their movement. All visas have to be applied on usual terms, and consequently, Russia also demands this from ship passengers.