Malta-flagged freighter in alleged ‘secret voyage’ with nuclear waste

Norwegian news services reports Malta-flagged, Russian-owned freighter offloaded nuclear cargo at Murmansk’s Atomflot base.

The 'Mikhail Dudin’
The 'Mikhail Dudin’

Malta flagged, but Russian-owned general cargo vessel 'Mikhail Dudin' reportedly left Atomflot base, Murmansk, yesterday evening after allegedly offloading nuclear waste cargo, the Barents Observer news portal tas said. is an open internet news service, which offers daily updated news from and about the Barents Region and the Arctic. The site is run by the Norwegian Barents Secretariat in Kirkenes, Norway.

In the report, BarentsObserver explains that Atomflot is Russia's only import site for containers with spent nuclear fuel. Other kind of radioactive material could be shipped to port in St. Petersburg.

The vessel's route was tracked through the portal 'Marine Traffic'. Tracks showed that the "Mikhail Dudin" sailed out of the Kola bay at 20.30 local time on Wednesday.

The cargo of nuclear waste reportedly comes from a former Soviet designed research reactor in Poland, and is part of a US, Russian cooperation agreement to organise shipments of highly-enriched uranium back to Russia to avoid it from falling into terrorists' hands.

From Poland,  the "Mikhail Dudin" reportedly sailed towards the North Sea and northbound to the coast of Norway and on to the Barents Sea. The vessel likely sailed outside Norwegian territorial waters.

The director of Norway's Radiation Protection Authorities, Ole Harbitz, told the BarentsObserver that his organization has no information about any shipment of nuclear waste outside the coast of Norway last week.

According to BarentsObserver, it was highly probable that the ship's tracking system  was switched off, sometime after March 15, and was switched on again after it left Murmansk.

The ship's last port of call was Tallinn, in Estonia on March 15.