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Business news, 10.08.2001 15:04

Pilots go on strike.

pilots Local harbour pilots brought sea traffic into St. Petersburg's port to a standstill on Wednesday by initiating a work action in protest of a federal government decision to ban private pilot services in three major northern seaports.

"We are protesting against the government's intention to destroy the service of private pilots, which has existed successfully for the last 10 years," said Andrei Makeyev, a representative of the St. Petersburg Sea Pilot Association in an interview on Wednesday.

Exceptions were made for five vessels on Wednesday, including two passenger boats that were guided into port from the Gulf of Finland after negotiations had been conducted between pilots and Inflot Management, the company responsible for foreign cruise ships. The passenger ships made port on schedule.

Port management has hired 19 state pilots since Wednesday, including one of the 107 commercial pilots who are on strike. Management said that a total of 70 pilots are required to return the port to normal operations.

Andrei Markerov, a spokesperson for the port's management, said that the new state-employed pilots had carried out more than 100 operations on Thursday, leaving only about 20 cargo ships waiting to enter the port.

News source: The St.Petersburg Times

(c) 2000