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Russian FSB bans eighty five cruise passengers coming ashore in Chukotka

By The Siberian Times reporter
29 July 2014

US, British, German and Australians not permitted ashore in the remote Bay of Providence.

'None of the passengers can go ashore because the border authorities do not permit them to do so. Allegedly there was an order from Moscow not to let the foreigners off the boat.' Picture: silversea.com

The tourists, on the luxury cruise ship Silver Discoverer, were prevented from disembarking at Provideniya - a former Soviet military port, sited on a fjord sheltered from the Bering Sea - amid claims of an order from Moscow. 

Despite hints that the wealthy passengers - many in their 70s - may have become victims of the breakdown in relations between Russia and the West over the Ukraine crisis, the reason why they were ordered to remain on their vessel remains unclear.

Alexey Frolov, general director of 'Pacific Network' that organised the tour from the Russian side, said: 'The majority of our guests are from America. All of the tourists have visas and the cruise was agreed with the government of Russia.

Chukotka on the map


Providence Bay general view

Chukotka - the part of the Siberian land mass almost touching Alaska - has the status of a border zone and there are certain limitations for foreigners. Picture: Andrey Stepanov

'But none of the passengers can go ashore because the border authorities do not permit them to do so. Allegedly there was an order from Moscow not to let the foreigners off the boat.

'The foreigners who are on average 70 to 75 years old spent all day long on board.

'All of them have tourist visas to Russia, all of them have entry stamps into Russia, but the local FSB denied them access to the area'. 

The FSB press service for the Chukotka autonomous region - where famous tycoon Roman Abramovich was once governor - contradicted him and told Lenta.ru that the passengers lacked the necessary paperwork. 

The same office told LifeNews website that the border authorities acted according to the law, as there were no permits issued for the visitors. 

The vessel had applied for permission to leave the waters of Russian Federation, which meant that the programme for the tourists was cut from four days to one. 

Silver Discoverer near Alaska with bear cube


Silver Discoverer with the boat

The tourists, on the luxury cruise ship Silver Discoverer, were prevented from disembarking at Provideniya - a former Soviet military port - sited on a fjord sheltered from the Bering Sea. Picture: silversea.com

Silver Discoverer - run by operators Silversea - is famed for its adventure cruises to exotic locations. 

Chukotka - the part of the Siberian land mass almost touching Alaska - has the status of a border zone and there are certain limitations for foreigners.

Irina Nekrashevich who is in charge of legal affairs for foreign cruises, told LifeNews. 'By law we have to apply for passes into the border zone 60 days ahead of the planned visit date. 

'We did submit the documents on time, but the passengers were told that they were refused access to Chukotka sites only at the point of arrival at Providence Bay.'

Irina Ryabukhina, head of the Chukotka Sport and Tourism committee, said: 'The region has not been told why that order appeared.' 

Comments (10)

Anyone who has been on the Silver Explorer would not describe it as luxurious. It is an expedition ship no much different than any Russian expedition ship except the food is better
Radarman, Florida
16/08/2014 04:45
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I was also on the Discoverer for this cruise. There were 7 Australians on board. I agree entirely with Larry's comments re the locals looking forward to us visiting etc. Whilst there may possibly have been some 'opulent spoilt tourists' on board there were many others who were interested in seeing the natural beauty, wildlife and the culture of the local people.
Whilst I personally am disappointed at not landing in Chukotka, I suspect the local people were more disappointed at missing the opportunity to show off the results of their preparations.
Jeff Craike, Sydney Australia
07/08/2014 16:52
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So sorry to see the idiots at the Moscow going back to their bad old ways,,,betraying the wonerful Russian people once again,,,,,what a world,,,and then think of poor poor Gaza and its suffering people,,,,,,,
john, Ireland
04/08/2014 07:39
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Have you ever heard of Como in Perth, Western Australia?

Guess not. That is where I reside.

My name is Valentyna and not VALETNA!!!
Valentyna, Perth, Australia
03/08/2014 23:02
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I was on that ship. The russians and native peoples in this area (including the local governor) were looking forward to seeing us for months, and had prepared shows and demonstrations for us since ships rarely come to this region. I heard that they also made special souvenirs for purchase. The russian port agents cleared the ship quickly, but orders from Moscow prevented us from leaving the ship. Our ship owner and many of the passengers had brought gifts and supplies for the people in this remote land that could not be delivered. We were told, that the ship would still honor its monetary commitment at each of the three venues that we were supposed to visit. The passengers were mostly interested in birds, other wildlife, and flora. We were welcomed wherever we landed in populated places, and we all learned a lot about these remote areas. Patrick should come onboard, there were many Australians in the crew!
Larry Gittleson, Los Altos, California
02/08/2014 07:16
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I was on that ship. The russians and native peoples in this area (including the local governor) were looking forward to seeing us for months, and had prepared shows and demonstrations for us since ships rarely come to this region. I heard that they also made special souvenirs for purchase. The russian port agents cleared the ship quickly, but orders from Moscow prevented us from leaving the ship. Our ship owner and many of the passengers had brought gifts and supplies for the people in this remote land that could not be delivered. We were told, that the ship would still honor its monetary commitment at each of the three venues that we were supposed to visit. The passengers were mostly interested in birds, other wildlife, and flora. We were welcomed wherever we landed in populated places, and we all learned a lot about these remote areas. Patrick should come onboard, there were many Australians in the crew!
Larry Gittleson, Los Altos, California
02/08/2014 07:13
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Patrick and valetnay are definitely not from Australia
Susan, Sydney Australia
01/08/2014 06:07
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Patrick: I totally agree with your comment. Americans are well known for travelling the world and flaunting their wealth and bragging how big their homes are, etc. We had personal experience of this for over 40 years.

Congratulations to Chukotka. Keep it free from corruption, it is beautiful and unspoilt.

All the very best to you all and God bless you all.
Valentyna, Perth, Australia
31/07/2014 12:21
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Wow, Patrick, what a mean-spirited thing to say about a bunch of gray-heads you know nothing of. Unless some Russian ex-KGBer just made up your name and place.
Richard Mauer, Anchorage, Alaska, USA
31/07/2014 10:56
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Who cares! These opulent spoilt tourist wanting to flaunt their wealth in front of some of the most poorest people on this planet, Travelling in such excessive luxury demeans the very idea of a holiday. The whole concept is to advertise their wealth as they can't do it at home, because the neighbour might just be a bit richer. I thought only immortality couldn't be bought but I was wrong ! Wow you also can't buy a stay in Chukotka, ha ha ha ha
Patrick .btw Good on yer Chukotka !
Patrick Travers, Perth Australia
30/07/2014 21:19
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