News President Ilham Aliyev attended ceremony to launch “Zarifa Aliyeva” ferry boat 28.04.2022 10:58 President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has attended the ceremony to launch the “Zarifa Aliyeva” Ro-Pax type ferry boat built at Baku Shipyard on the order of the Azerbaijan Caspian Sea Shipping Closed Joint-Stock Company (ASCO). Chairman of the Azerbaijan Caspian Sea Shipping Closed Joint-Stock Company Rauf Valiyev informed the head of state of the “Zarifa Aliyeva” ferry boat. It was noted that the design of the ferry is the same as the Ro-Pax-type “Azerbaijan” ferry, which was commissioned at the beginning of last year. The ferry operated by a crew of 30 can carry 100 passengers, 56 tank wagons or 50 trucks at the same time. According to these indicators, the “Azerbaijan” and “Zarifa Aliyeva” ferries are superior to other ferries operating in the Caspian basin. Fitted with state-of-the-art equipment from the world's leading manufacturers, the ship has a cargo elevator, a helicopter pad, a ship stabilization system in undulating weather, and traction locomotives. President Ilham Aliyev cut the ribbon symbolizing the commissioning of the ship. The closure of the Suez Canal in March last year raised the issue of diversification of transport corridors to the international agenda. Against the background of the current geopolitical turmoil, this issue has become particularly relevant. In this respect, the East-West-Trans-Caspian corridor looks particularly attractive, as Azerbaijan is also improving its infrastructure in response to new challenges. The naming of the ferry “Zarifa Aliyeva” is an expression of Azerbaijani sailors' boundless respect for the memory of prominent scientist and doctor, Doctor of Medical Sciences, Professor, Honored Scientist, Academician Zarifa Aliyeva. An area on the ship reflects the scientific research, achievements and benevolent attitude of academician Zarifa Aliyeva, describing, in a nutshell, her life and activity full of self-sacrifice. Photo and video information and books about Zarifa Aliyeva, a full member of the National Academy of Sciences and first female laureate of the M. I. Averbakh Prize, are on display in the area. After familiarizing himself with the ship, President Ilham Aliyev pressed the button to launch it. The “Zarifa Aliyeva” ferry will make an important contribution to unlocking the transit potential of the country, which has a favorable geographical position, and engage in transportation operations together with other ferries of ASCO, thus creating an important link in the chain of cargo transportation on the Trans-Caspian International Transport Route. Today, ASCO’s fleet includes 13 ferries, two Ro-Ro and 1 Ro-Pax type ships. Currently, ASCO is the only ferry operator in the Caspian Sea that provides carriage of railway wagons by sea. The fleet acts as a bridge in the Caspian Sea for both wagons and trucks, and all users of cargo on the Trans-Caspian corridor are able to benefit from this opportunity. One of the important achievements of Azerbaijan in the field of shipping was the commissioning of the Baku Shipyard in 2013, which has great potential and is considered one of the most modern enterprises in the region. The commissioning of this plant has eliminated the dependence on imports for the production of ships in Azerbaijan. The establishment of such a plant in Azerbaijan has enabled the construction of all types of ships on the basis of unique projects and new concepts, taking into account the specific features of the Caspian Sea and the technical capabilities of the existing port infrastructure in this basin. Ro-Pax type vessels are similar in nature. The production of ships and ferries in accordance with the highest standards is an indicator of the strength of the Azerbaijani state in economic, industrial and technological terms. At present, the plant is building two more tankers for the ASCO fleet. A total of 24 ships have been commissioned to date as part of the Strategic Development Plan adopted by the Azerbaijan Caspian Sea Shipping CJSC in 2014. Azerbaijani ships also operate outside the Caspian Sea – in the Black Sea and the Mediterranean. ASCO operates 13 vessels, including seven dry cargo ships and six tankers. The crews of ships representing the country and carrying the Azerbaijani flag in foreign waters are composed entirely of Azerbaijani sailors.