Created: 10/13/1952

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Sucmary and Conclusions


II. Caspian Sea Merchant



A. riahing

III. Caspian Sea

Soa Merchant Shipping

and Nature of

of Caspian Sea Traffic to

the Economy of the


Appendix A. Gaps in

Appendix B.

Appendix C, Sources and Evaluation of Sources




Suppary pud Conc2uMor.B

There are serious deficiencies la virtually all aspects ofSoviet merchant shipping operations In the Caspian Sea. The isolation the area makes difficult the gathering of current intelligence,studies of Soviet water transport pay little specific

The Caspian fleet is estimated tohipsrosstons (CRT) (excluding shipsRT). The fleet is generallyarge number of vessels being overears old. Tankers accountRT, or aboutercent of the total. Caspian Sea tanker operations are among the most important activities of the Soviet merchant marine. ecent series of dofector reports have furnished much detailed intelligence on the fleets and their operations. According to those reports, there are three tanker fleets operating in the Caspian Sea and up the Volga River, comprising small- to moderate-size0 toRT) which are either old or obsolescent. The more efficientbuilt at the Krasnoye Sormovo Shipyard at Gor'kiy. Morale in theaspian Sea merchant fleet appears to be low, and there is much criticism of working conditions. Certain basic precautions have been taken to expedite mobilization and defense measures in the event of war.

The fishing fleet is another important part of the Caspian Sea merchant fleet. The Ministry of Fishing industry controls all operations. Included ln the closely directed organization under the Ministry are fishing trusts, canneries, research, and maintenance. The fleet consists of small vesselsoeters in length. Some of these vessels have low-powered engines, while many depend on sails.

There are eight ports of Importance on the Caspian Sea. The leading ones. In approximate order of Importance, are Astrakhan', on the northwest coast; Baku and Makhachkala, on the west coast| and Krasnovodsk, on the east coast. Gur'yev, on the northeast coast, which is the next in Importance, handles

This report containe information available to CIA as

nalnly local traffic, as do Derbent, on the west coastj Lenkoran', on the southwest coast) and Fort Shevchonko, on the east coast,

Caspian Sea merchant shipping accountsubstantial part of all Soviet water-borne trade. Trafficxcluding the considerable volume of transahipmenta, is eatimated atillion metric tons.

Petroleum accounts for aboutercent of all Caspian Sea cargo Oil moves to Astrakhan' from Baku, Kreanovodak, and Makhachkala for transshipment up the Volga. Astrakhan' alsorocessing center for the Caspian Sea fishing Industry and is important for lumber and grain traffic, Baku Is important primarily for export of oil, moat of which goes to Astrakhan', and la the canter for Soviet water-borne trad* with Iran. Makhachkala also exports oil to Astrakhan' androducing center ofproducts for Central Asia. Krasnovodsk exports refined oil to Astrakhan1 and receives crude oil ln excess of refinery capacity at Baku for refining and reshlpment, Krasnovodsk also exports cotton and Imports goods consigned to Central Asia, Gur'yov handles fish and conoldorable oil traffic. Traffic through Derbent, Lenkoran', and Fort Shevchenko la miscellaneous in character, generally being confined to requirements of their respective areas. Other Caspian porta are primarily of local importance.

The trend in Caspian Sea traffic ia likely to continue upward. Although development of the Bashkir oil fields, "the seconday reduce the volume of Caspian Sea oil moTamenta, the opening of the Volga-Don Canal,ater route between the Black Sea and area* now served by tbe Caspian fleet, vlll generate traffic ln coal, orea, grain, and industrial

Caspian Sea merchant ahlpping is now of primary Importance to the Soviet economy for the movement of oil, cotton, fish, grain, and timber. The volume of traffic approachea that of the Soviet-flag ocean fleet, deaplte the fact that the ocean fleet la over six times as large. Without the Caspian route It is doubtful that the oil reserves of the Baku region ever could have made their contribution to the general economic development of the USSB andto the all-important Stalingrad-Leningrad-Moscow triangle area.

I. .Introduction.

Intelligence on the Soviet-flag Caspian Sea merchant fleet is poor, and little organised data on the subject can bo found. The fact that the fleet operates virtually within the OSSR and that traffic with Iran, the only other country bordering on the Caspian Sea, is of little consequenceinsures the security of the fleet from Western surveillance. of the nature of Caspian Sea trade, moreover, Western mercantile interests,ource of current shipping intelligence, have little iriforaation/ The principal sources for such Information are the coverage provided by the Foreign Broadcast Intelligence Service (FBIS) and by the reading of Soviet publications. These data are, however, extremely fragmentary. Basic studies of Soviet Inland water operations concentrate on river and canal traffic and pay little attention to the Caspian Sea.

II. .Caspian Ses Merchant Fleet.

A. Site and Quality.


Some information on the size of the Caspian Sea merchant fleet is containedurvey of the Soviet merchant marine made earlyndicating U9 ships ofCO gross registered tons (CRT) There probably haa been no appreciable changehe composition of the fleet is shown In Table 1,

Table 1

The Soviet-flag Caspian Sea Merchant FleetSelf-propelled VesselsRT) (Data as

Type of Vessel

of Vessels

Footnote references in arable numerals ore to sources listed ln Appendix

Caaplan Sea cargo ahlpaRTj passenger ships,RT; andCO CRT;umber of tankers are ofRT Cor'kiy type.f the total merchant fleethips,reCO GRT;RT. None ofhips is known to beRT, and onlyre known to beRT. (There are, however, unconfirmed reoorts0 tonin the Caspian Sea.)

Ths small size and draft of most of the merchant fleet permit operations in the nany shallow channels and harbors of the Caspian Sea. Despite their shallow draft, however, Caspian tankers cannot proceed up the Volga River but oust discharge their cargoes at the Astrakhan' roadstead.

2. Quality.

Information ie available on the age ofessels of the Caspian Sea merchant fleet. Of this number,re overears old andere builtlthough approximately half of these are at leastears old. Data on the speed ofhips indicate that the fleethole ia slow. Of4 are in theknot category,xe lnknot category, andre capable of as much asnots.

Table 2

Estimated Speed of Typical Caaplan Sea Merchant Vessels (Self-propelled VesselsRT) (Data as

of Vessels





9 to

8 to

7 to

ago car

ajfter rion;.

The tankor fleet la one of the moat important segments of the ovIp*Marine. Although additional detail* areecent jport haa given mach new Information on Caspian Sea tanker5y The report sharply reduces prosent estimates as to the Ise of the fleet and may be in error, but it la of considerable Interest ecauae of ita technical and operating data. The report states that three OBpanles participate in petroleum ahipmenta in the Caaplan-Volgaollows:

Caspian State PetroleumB Neftenallvnovo_Pfrokhodatvok knovn

Astrakhan' State Road at eada Petroleum Steamship

dar^re^TOYy POYdyVOve NetterAl.vnoYenown aa "Reydtanker."

Volga State Petroleumnown

The Kaaptanker fleet hasld tankers andodern tankers, hich operate only oa th* Caspian Sea and do not go up the Volga. Ko new ankers have been added to th* fleet sincea except perhaps on* or wo snail unita received a* reparations from Germany. Theodern ships re large diesel tankers (bpl'shegruznyve teplffjtfiody) builthe Krasnoye Sormovo Shipyard (nov called Zavcd laeni Zhdanov) at or'kly. They areRT each, equipped with two comnresaor-type AJMKaechlnenfahriJc Augeburg-Huernborg) dieael enginesorsepowerotalp per vessel. Theoe engines operateevolutions per minute (rpm) andixed fuel of dieael oil nnd olar oil (go)yartja). Vnon loaded, theypoed of aboutnots) hen empty, vith vater ballast, their apeed la aboutnots. They havein operation for onlyoears, and the hull* are still in ex-ellent shape. The engines, however, have been exposed to considerableand are no longer as good aa the hull*. 7 theld tankers ere takon over by the USSRwedish concern, the Nobel Petroleum teanshlp Ccnpany. They varyRT. Built, moat of them are equipped-p steam engines. They se either boiler oil or heavy fuel oil (topochnw mazut). Vhen loaded,

thoso tankerspeed ofnots; when empty,nots. Tbe hulls and boilers are in poor shape, but the engines are still fair. Aa far as is knovn, there have been no recent changes in Kaaptankerequipment. The large tankers are equipped vith tvo Cameron diesel pumpsotal pumping capacityetric tons per hour, snd the smaller tankers are equipped vith pumps of lover capacities.

Kasptanker has no self-propelled barges, and tankers are never used to tov barges. The companyev old ships vith engines removed vhlch are used as barges and toved by the fev tovboats* ln the company's fleet. 6/

Maintenance and ropeIrs on vessels of Kasptonker are carried out mostly at the Zakavkasskaya Pedoratslya Ship Repair Yard and partly at another shipyard, rarishskaya Kommuna, both located in Baku. Each tankor la scheduled for maintenance and repair during the winter months. repairs, vhlch are rather frequent, ore made when required. 3/

tbe fleet of Reydtanker is composed tovboats and barges. 8/ These barge trains operate only from tbe roadstead, not in the Caspian Sea itself. There areow-boats in the fleet. Four are paddle-wheel types, overears old, acquired froa the Nobel Company. They have compound steam engines, ofp, and are reported to be able to tow one bargeeadweight tons (DWT) against the currentpeednots. (OS experience casts doubt on all performance data reported by this defector.) Downstream, with on empty barge, they cannots. The hulls and boilers are in poor condition, but the englnos are still usable. econd group Is made upnits, built43 in the Krasnoye Sormovo Shipyard. Most of them are equipped with two MAR diesel engines, eachppm. Dpstreaz, these tugs ore said to be able to tow twoCMWT bargesnots; downstream, with empty barges, they connots. Theyixed fuel of diesel and solar oil. All their hulls and engines are in good condition. The remaining seven are modem tovboats, all in excellent condition,ixture of diesel end solar oil. One Is an ex-German vessel, received as reparations, which has two Ceutz diesel engines, eachppm. It canmetrlc-ton loadWT

Ao used ln this report, tovboat Is synonymous with lug. Tugs ore used in harbor or short-haul operations, whereas tovboata are used for long hauls.

barges andOG-DWT barge)nots upstreamnots downstream. Four of the ships in this group were builtn the Krasnoaraeysk Shipyard and in the Krasnoye Sormovo Shipyard. All are equipped with two diesel engines, of the adapted Washington-type engine (USrep, and operate atpm. Upstream they can towWT bargenots; downstream their speed isnots. Two of the seven towboat8 wore builtn the Riga Shipyard and are equipped-with one diesel engine of the adapted Washington type,ppm. They can towWT barge upstreamnots; downstream, their speednots. ix tovboats, equippedp Washington diesel engines, were taken away from Reydtanker and given toumber company which specializes in floating timber down the Volga River to Baku.) Reydtanker has aboutarges in its fleet.

There areld barges, built before the Russian Revolution, which are aboutrears old. Most of thenapacity ofetric tons and are in poor shape. Somearges built ins, eachapacityetric tons, are in fair condition. About 15 arges, eachWT, built8re in excellent condition. There isRT self-propelled barge, received asfrom Germany, equippedp diesel engine. Itpeednots upstream when loaded.

Annual repairs of Reydtanker barges and tugs are made in the Tenth Anniversary of the October Revolution Ship Repair Yard (Korable-rgry^nyv Zsvod Dgsvatoy ^py-ihchlnv OktYflfrr1 skov !icvolyutsliVntTugs axe repaired according to the same schedule as tankers. Occasionally tugs ore also taken to the Ship Repair Shop No.n Astrakhan1.

The fleet of Volgotanker consists of someowboats andarges. Towboats fall into three different groups. There are comeaddle-wheel units with steam engines rangingp, all aboutears old. It is reportedp tovboat canoad0 metricpetric tona. (These performances are considerably above US experience and are doubtful.) The speed of these boats going upstream isnots when loaded; the speed downstream, with empty barges, isnots. Their engines use heavy fuel oil. The hulls and boilers are in poor shape, but the engines are still good. Somere paddle-wheel tugs, built ins, equipped with two KAN diesel engines manufactured at the Krasnoye Sormovo Shipyard, The two engines of these tugsp. They canoad0 metric tons. When loaded, their upstreau speednots; dovnstream, with empty


bargeo, the speed isnots. Theyixture of dlosel and solar oil All these tugs are In good shape in respect to both engines and hulla. Thore are about eight propeller tugs, built80 in the Kraanoye Sormovo Shipyard, each with two. Washington diesel enginesp,otalp per vessel. Upstream they are said to tow oneVT bargenots; downstream, with an empty barge, their apeed laonots. These tugs are also In excellent condition.

Volgotanker has about ICO ateel oil bargesypes. Some are the Kolooenka type, old barges from prerevolutionary timesapacityetric tons. The Sormovo-type bargee were built in the Krasnoye Soraovo Shipyard. They have load capacities varying0 metric tons. Most of them, however, are InWT class. Only five or six or these barges are inOWT class. One type in particular, the Hordovahchlk type,WT barge, built after the war in the Hordovshchikovo Shipyard in Cor'kiy Oblast and mainly used for transporting gasoline. Their hulls are painted silver and have on both sides ar. Inscription in bold capital lotters which means, "Danger, Highly Inflammable."

Volgotanker alao has two or three self-propelled bargesRT received as reparations from Germany. These are equipped withp diesel engine andpeednots upstream when loadednots empty when going downstream. Repairs for Volgotanker are made in three ship repair yards ln Astrakhan' which belong to the company.

Towboata and self-propelled barges are repaired mostly in the Lenin Ship Repair lard, although some are repaired in the Stalin Ship Repair Tard. Barges and pumps are repaired in the Third International Ship Repair Tard.

It is believed that except for the few original Washington diesel engines received under Lend-Lease during World War II, all dieael engines used on tankera ln the Caspian Sea region were built at the Krasnoye Sormovo

In general, the morale of Caspian Sea vesael crews ia low, Crewa refer to tankers and petroleum bargee aa "floating prisons" and try lo get jobs on shore.easons for dissatisfaction cover every aspect of life on shlpst hard work, short layovers in portow wages, and poor crew accommodations. Food auppllea are poorly organized, and authorities are accusod of widespread pilferage of foodstuffs.

Ccrtoln defense and mobilization meosures havo been caiTied out In all three petroleum shipping companies. 9 the "War Emergency Alert" (RasDlznnlvo Doybyoyn unclassified directive, wasto all three shipping companies to outline duties of each memberrew in case of an alert for war. Main points covered by the directive were as follows!

must be organized and trained to manmachine guns. (These weapons, however, had not been received

reduce danger of fire, all wooden boardsdecks of tugs in peacetime must be removed by crewsfor this purpose.

' c. Speed-limit governors must be removed by the chief mechanic of all ships having such devices. (Tugs and tankers built9 and later normally have governors limiting speed to aboutnots. Their removal, punishable in peacetimeears of hard labor according to maritime law, would increase the speed of the vessels to aboutnots.)

Other Innovations have military significance. Por example, tugs and barges built8 have practically no wooden parts exoept the captain's bridge, and all tankers and barges are built with compartments.WT barge has approximatelyoompartments.)

4. TiaMne- Fleet.

Caspian Sea fishing operations are of considerable importanceUSSR for twoirst, the Caspian Sea contains one of thefishing grounds of the USSR, being the source of aboutercent ofSoviet The fishing fleet, furthermore, is en. importantthe Caaplan fleet. etailedtbe fleet and itsis contained Ir. nii/ According to that report,

the Ministry of Pishing Industry is the controlling organisation for all aspects of the Caspian Sea fishing. The Chief Directorate of Caspian Fishing(known ass subordinate to the Ministry of Fishing Industry (known aa "Mlnrybprom"). This directorate is located in Astrakhan1 and Is responsible for fishing and fish-processing operations in the region. The Chief Directorate is made up of two fishing trusts, as well aa oannerles, notorized fishing etatlonsnd construction and rspalr yards for fishing craft. Tin addition, the Chief Directoratecientific

research center specialising in tha fauna of the Caspian Sea and the Volga River.) The two trusts are called the Volga-Caspian Fishing Trust (known aa "Volgokaopgosrybtnd the Ural-Caspian Fishing Trust (knovn as "Uralkaspgosrybtrost"), Both are located ln Astrakhan', but during theseason the field offioe of the Ural-Caspian Fishing Trust is roved to Ganyushkino on the coast, soaie SO kilometers east of Astrakhan'. The trusts are broken down into fishing kolkhozes and fish-processing plantshe latter are mostly floating Installations, although some plants are on shore, where tbe catch la cleaned, salted, and smoked. Floating flab-processing plants are installed on double-deck wooden barges ICC meters long,eters vide, andeters above the water line. They are not self-propelled but must be towed from one location to another.

The fishing fleets of both trusts may be divided Into tvogroups: the river fleets and the sea, or saltwater, fleets. The river fleet of the Volga-Caspian Fishing Trust ls stationed along all the branches of the Volga River from Astrakhan' to Olya, at the southern end of the delta extending into the sea. All settlements ln thia area are fishing kolkhozes. Ther fishing boats, form the main component of the river fleet. These budarkj areeters long, usually equipped vith oars and occasionally vith sails. ew motorboats are assigned by the motorizedstations (hftS) to the fishing kolkhozes. Theae boats are of an older type,hp Ballnger engines, using crude oil. The river fleet has also about ICC motor launches, manufactured in the Kirov shipyard inhese craft, made of ateel plate, are abouteters longeters wide. Theypeednots. ever modelpeed ofnots. The medium-aised trevler (SRT) used ln the Far East and in the Murmansk area does not operate In the Caspian Sea.

The saltwater fishing fleet operating in the Caspian Sea up to Astrakhan1 has the same types of craft as the river fishingnd several others In addition. Around Astrakhan' there are aboutsmall wooden seiners ofoRT vith square sterns. They areeters longeters vide and use combined sail and motor propulsion; the engines ara the Ballnger type, reported to be ofop,peed ofnots. Their crews consiat of abouten. ome new wooden seiners of the same size have been added to the fleet. These have the conventional sloping stern and two masts and are equipped with diesel engines or vith tractor engines operating on kerosene, which gives them speeds ofnots. Their orewa consiat ofoen.


The saltwater fishing fleot also has aore wheel-type tugs, alloears old. They vary In size fromoeters in length and have IOC-p enginespeed ofnots. They bum heavy fuel oil and have crews ofen. The largest tug leyear-old Tkach Petr Alekseyov,p steam engine. Itheel-type tugeters long andeters wide and makesnots. Its crewofen. This tug, and most of the others, has aradio station, equipped with1 type receivers, using Horse code but no cipher. There is an entertainment shiphe fosif Stalin, which travels among the fish-processing plantsibraryinema. Itormer Volga River passenger vessel with two decks. The only realin the fishing fleet isyear-old Serro Qrdzhonlkldzc. which belong to the Chief Directorate of Caspianndustries. It iseters long andeters wide and has two propellers andp steam engines. It iseliable ship and requires frequent repairs. In addition, two modified tugs of the V'yuge type ore sometimes used sa Eachteeleet wide and00 inch thick all around the ship's body to permit operation as icebreakers. These tugs have diesel engines and cannots. They belong to another organization, the Directorate of Roadsteads Technical Fleet (knovn asnd they may be either Lend-lease vessels or reparations from Germany.

The repair and construction facilities of the Directorate of Roadsteads Technical Fleet consist of the Kirov Shipyard and several repair bases for seiners. This shipyard also builds for the fleet about twoonth of the type described above. Most of thee are for the Chief Directorate of Caspian Fishing Industries, although at times such boats are sold to other organizations. The engines are not manufactured in this yard but probably come from the Erasnoyo Sormovo Diesel Plant or some other place on tho Volga, The Chief Directorate lias its own airfield in Astrakhan' and about fiveype airplanes, used primarily for air reconnaissance lo locato schools of fish or stranded fishing craft. In special cases theserve for liaison between agencies of the directorate.

Fishing is done by dragging nets between two motorboats. The catch is loaded into smaller boats and taken toish-processing plants installed on barges. Around the mouth of the Volga, twotugs are used to collect and tow the small fishing boats (bujjsxfci). Atf those boats ere taken ln one tow by one of these tugs.


The fishing fleet operates from April to June and from August to November. (The summer period is closed for spawning, and the winter period is closed by Ice, rendering navigation impossible.) Four thousand to five thousand people work in the fishing fleets, not counting those employed in the kolkhozes. The norms of the fishermen are set so high that in the fall the crews must carry on their work into the winter season. The result Is that many small fishing boats of the budarka type are lost. At the end of the fishing season, about half the tugs belonging to Reydtanker are engaged in rescue operations and in towing the floating fish-processing plants Into the harbors,

8. Capacity.

The Soviet Caspian Sea merchant fleet has an estimated aggregate cargo capacityetric tons, of which aboutercent is petroleum or petroleum products. Ko organized information is available on the ton-kilometer potential of the fleet, but because it operateselatively small, closed area and ia highly specialized in the transport of bulk cargoes (oil, grain, fish, andessel utilization is considerably above the Soviet-flag ocean fleet average (operations of ore and grain fleets of the tS-Canadlan Great lakes bear some similarity).

II. Caspian Sea Porta.

The Caspian Sea is well supplied with ports on all shores. There are at least eight ports, In additionumber of anchorages and landing places where cargoes can be handled. Cargo capacity and coramodities handled by the main ports of the Caspian Sea are shown in

Astrakhan', on the northwest coast, is the leading port for Caspian 5ea traffic. It ls located on the left bank of the Volga and extends for several allea along the river. Although closed by ice forays during the winter, it is the principal river port in the USSR. Furthermore, if traffic passing through the roadstead in the Volga delta belov the city ls included, Aatrakhan' ranks first among all Soviet ports in volume of traffic.

The present status of Astrakhan1 port facilities is not known, but they are reported to have been rebuilt since the end of the war and6 vere reported to beercent"

ollows on* Despite wide Soviet use of such expressions as "mechanizedheir exact meaning is not clear.


Table 3

Soviet Caspian Seat.jgated_CapacltleB and Maior CommooltlaH Handled u/


Astrakhan' Makhachkala

Derbcnt Baku

Lenkoran' Krasnovodsk

Fort Shevchenko


Cargo-handling Capacitylong Tons)


alt, grain

otton, fish,


Foodstuffs, lumber

N.A. Manufactures, crude.

Industrial equipment, lumber"

rain, machinery, fish"

fish, grain,

Fertiliser, agricultural products, lumber, fish

Textiles, sugar, lumber,ndustrial

Lumber, fish

Crude and refined oil,"

cotton, chemicalsoal, manganese,


items of traffic are designated by an asterisk.

on the basisong tons of military cargohour day; the alternate capacity for general commercialsomewhat lower. Oil-handling capacity is not included.

- 13

There are In the port and at the roadstead major storage facilities for oil and other cargoes awaiting either transshipment or the opening of the Volga to traffic.

Astrakhan* has the largest oil storage facilities of the Caspian ports. They allU Distribution Agency (known as "Glavneft' sbyt").

, following information on these facilities. 2s/

There is one oil storage area near the Kirov Shipyard. Dark-oil products such as lubricants and diesel oil are stored there in about eight tanks,oeters In diameter andeters high. Another area, Oil Storage Area (fleftebaza) Ho.s for storage of all oil products and servesOL supply point for the ships of Volgotanker, Reydtanker, and all othercompanies and for the shore installations and many plants and factories in Astrakhan'. There are aboutrankseters high. This area is orovlded with permanent steam pumps for piping oil from barges into tanks. Oil Storage Areaa close to the Lenin Ship Repair Yard. It is used for dark-oil products and kerosene. Equipment consists of aboutanks,eters in diameter andeters high, and stationary steam pumps for the transfer of oil. Floating pumps installed on barges also are used when Oil Storage Areaa located close to the Third International Ship Repair Yard. This storage area belongs to Volgotanker. It Is used for the storage of dark-oil products and consists of someanks,eters in diameter andeters high. Ko stationary pumps are available at this area, and all oil transfer is done by pumps on barges. Therea is the largest POL storage in It is used for storage of all POL products, both dark and pale, except gasoline andrude oil This installation haa stationary pumps and aboutanks, half of themyeters, the rest aboutyeters. Oil Storage Area Ho. L on the east bank of the Volga, is used exclusively for gasoline storage. It is equipped with aboutanks,yeters, painted silver. These are the only tanks In Astrakhan' that are painted silver. Ho stationary pumps areand only floating pumps are used. Another oil storage area, referred to as Bertyul' is used only for dark-oil products and is equipped with three tanks, eachbyeters.

In addition to these tank storage areas there are several open storages for oil products fneftvenaysn Astrakhan'. These are actually reservoirs dug In the ground, lined with brick,eters deep. Some of them are round,eters ln diameter; others are square andeters. Soveral other open storages are located close to the village of Bashmakovka. Two more open storagos are located between those

near Bashmakovka and Oil Storage Area Ho. 4. All those open storagesperiodically when there ls no space available ln tanks atother open storages, located close to the Tenth Anniversary ofRevolution Ship Repair lard are no longer used, and evenof the facing have been

It is reported that some oil storage facilities In Astrakhan' have been expanded0 by construction of several additional tanks in each area. Special attention was paid to Oil Storage Area No,hich was carefully Cargo-handling capacity of the port proper is estimated toong tons per day, excluding oilo thla substantial figure must be added the capacity of the roadstead facilities. Capacity data for these roadstead facilities are not available, but thecapacity for handling general dry cargo and bulk cargoes such as grain and coal ls believed to be at least' equal to that of the port proper, and probably much greater. Capacity for oil cargo-handling and for storage facilities is almost certainly much greater at the roadstead than at tha port. Port clearance facilities are estimated to be only fair. This situation apparently does noterious problem, however, since the major part of the port traffio is transshipped directly to barges or other vessels,

Baku is next in Importance to Astrakhan1 among Caspian Sea ports. Located on the west coastiles north of the Iranian border, Baku ls the traditional center of the Soviet petroleum industry but ls being rivalled by the Bashkir region. The port suffered only minor war damage, which iato have been fully repaired. Baku ranksajor port not only for its petroleum traffio but also for its general trade. For example, the small volume of Soviet water-borne trade with Iran la centered In Baku, The capacity of the port for handling general cargo ia eatimated toong Capacity of the port for handling oil cargoes Is not known but ls obviously much larger than the capacity for general cargo. One report states that there aretorage tanks ranging00 barrels Oil ls loaded and unloaded by means of wooden pierspipelines for pumping cargoes directly into tankers and barges or for discharging cargoes of oil brought from other areas to Baku forhere ls unlimited anchorage in the harbor, and, unlike Astrakhan', Baku ie not closed by ice during the winter. Adequate rail and road facilities exist for clearing the port. ouble-track rail line runs from Baku to Makhachkala, then northwost to Rostov to connect with the general rail system. The opening of the -Volga-Don Canal (officially named. Lenin Volga-Don Shipurnishing an alternative, though longer, east-west route, mayeffect the importance of Baku, There is little reason, however, to forecast any significant decline in the volume of traffic through tho port.


On the contrary, it is possible that continued Industrial and agricultural development of the Central Asian area east of the Caspian Sea cay increase th* volume of traffic through Balm, Development of supplementalaollltles reported to be under way at Apsheronskiy on the peninsula nearby also will increase the importance of the Baku area for oil transport.

Makhachkala, alao on the wost coast,iles north of Baku, is tho third largest Caspian port. Part of the moles and quays of the harbor of Makhachkala were destroyed during the war. On the whole, however, tha damage was repaired by the endnd buoyage and lighting facilities of tho harbor had been reconditioned by that time. The lighthouses on tho mole heads seemed to be in operationL/ Depth of water was oatimated ateters. Merchant shipping, which was only moderate as latencreased An average ofohips was observed in ports at one timeoored at various berths of the quays and Most vessels calling at the port sail under tha Soviet flag, but sore are Iranian ships. Pilotage is compulsory for practically all ships entering harbor. Makhachkalaransit depot for oil products from the Baku and Cromnyy fields as well as ar. important port for grain, cotton, and general cargo. It has oil storage areas of considerable capacity. The storage area is reported to be equipped with stationary steam pumps of total capacity ofons per hour. 2 there were aboutanka,yeter*. In vieweport that0 Eeydtanker started carrying Tutobsv crude oU down the Volga to Makhachkala to be refined, it seems probable that oil storage facilities in Makhachkala have increased

One unconfirmed report, oovering .the years5tated that docking facilities at tho oil harbor consisted of oneeters long andeters wide which could accommodate two tankers simultaneously. Incoming tankers unloaded oil from Baku into pipelines leading dlroctly to an oil-storage area where oil was stored either to be shipped later by rail to Rostov or the Makhachkala refinery or to be used to refuel Caspian freighters (lt was eatimated that an average of-ankers and one larger tanker put in at the oU harbor weekly). At the fishing harbor, schooners and trawlers unloaded their catch, which consisted chiefly ofand seals. Herrings were salted and shipped out in drums; seals, used for industrial purposes, were shipped without processing of any kind. Just south of the fishing harboruay servedpecial railroad spur where sulfide shipped in from the salt deposits at Karo-Bogaz-Gol was unloaded. It was then shipped by rail to various chemical olants in the USSR. 2J/ In


addition to the traffic in oil and fish, about five freightersCORT were reported to put in daily. Passenger traffic at Makhachkala appears to be negligible. The port haa received considerable attention in recent years, having been largely rebuilt and modernized. According to Soviet sources, the port is now well equipped with modern freight-handling equipment, including portal, caterpillar, and railroad cranes and newmachines of Soviet and foreign manufacture, echanical cargo-handling In the port5nd special equipment was built for unloading cotton. So-called "fast methods" are used for handling moat Despite this modernization, Soviet technical journals report that Makhachkala does not yet have enough piers and is not sufficiently Organization of the port is criticized in the Soviet press and official technical journals, and in the spring0 the portvas sharply criticised for inefficiency and Idleness. 2Q/ Present capacity of the port for general cargo is estimated toong Capacity for handling petroleum, though unknown, Is undoubtedly much greater than that for general cargo. The reportedapacityetric tons of oil dally ia believed to have been greatly (The figure is roughly equal to the entire output of the Soviet petroleum industry.) The port is on the main rail line between Baku and Rostov, and rail facilities are believed to be adequate to care for the general cargo capacity of the port. Its oil-handling capacity by rail ls unknown. Highway facilities are poor, and oil traffic moves largely by water or pipeline.

Krasnovodsk, the leading port on the east coast, is important for the import of crude oil from Baku and the export of refined oil products. The port has considerable oil storage facilities. 4 there were two oil storage areas In the vicinity of Krasnovodsk. The first was about 8south of the city, at Cfra,referred to as Ufrlnskaya Keftebaza (Ufra Oil Base). Thereanks,yeters, used for the storage of dark-oil products. The second storage area of the same capacity was located in the northern part of Krasnovodsk, close to the ship repair

Krasnovodskey port in Soviet planning for Central Asia and will become of greater importance upon completion of the Turkmen Canal, the Caspian Sea, terminus of which will be in the vicinity. That project already Is having considerable effect on port operations at Krasnovodsk, as freight

* As in other Soviet data on port mechanization, the base data for this figure ls not indicated.

traffic1 is reported to have exceeded the planned figurend was well above the average performance for all Soviet porta. VJ The capacity of the port for handling general cargo ia estimated to beong Oil-handling capacity is not known, but is certainly much larger than that for general cargo. The Trans-Caspian Railroad serves Krasnovodsk, and facilities are believed to be at least adequate for present traffic.

Gur'yev, at the mouth of the Oral River, on the northeast coast, iaport for the Caspian Sea fishing industry and also is importantcargoes bound for Astrakhan1 from the Emba oil fields. There arestorage facilities in Gur'yev. There is reported totoragethe western part of Bol-shoy Peshnoy Island, referred to as thearea forn Gur'yev. This installation belongs toOil Distribution Agency (known as "Glavnefthrough itsEast Oil (known as. These storage facilitiesmainly for gas oil and are equipped with someanks,re several stationary steam pumps for the transfer of oilbarges into tanks. Total pump capacity isetric tons In addition, there are several steam pumps for conveyingcentimeter pipeline ton Gur'yev. Thislaid on the bottom of the sea, isoilometerscargo capacity of the port is estimated toong tons22/ Petroleum-handling capacity is unknown. The port is served byrail line leading northeastward, eventually joiningline. It is believed that the rail line is adequatethe port.

The remaining Caspian ports of any consequence are Derbent, on the west coast; Lenkoran', on the southwest coast; and Fort Shevchenko, on the Mangyshlak peninsula, on the east coast. These ports are of minor Importance, the general cargo-handling oapacity being estimated to beongay for Derbent is on the main rail line to Baku, and Lenkoran' also has rail facilities, but Fort Shevchenko has no rail The latter port may, however, become an important military Installation if reported plans toarge naval base are carried out.



VJ- Caspian See Merchant Shinning Op^^ng A. Volume and Mature of Traffjc. 1. Volume.

Caspian Sea traffic for many years haa accountedub-

6^rJaJJpart0X1 Sovlet water-borne trade. Before the development of oil fields around the sea, grain and other agricultural products of the area moved up the Volga in large quantities. Opening of oil fields around Danu ana Krasnovodsk, however, assured to Caspian Sea shipping an import-ant place in over-ell Soviet tranaport and forced the volume of traffic upward in the years beforo World War II.

or example, Caspian Sea trafficillion metricn contrast1 million metric tons transported alongtheAfter the Revolution, traffic declined so that in the fiacal yearaspian Sea movements totaledetric tons. &/ owever, traffic had increased, so that in that year Astrakhan', Baku, and Makhachkala each handledillion metric tons of cargo, the major portion of which was oil import-export

. Jhe main flow of petroleum products follows the route from Baku to Astrakhan' and up the Volga to transshipping points.

of Petroleun' were shipped along this route. Of this

8 percent was transferred to railroads for shipping to theegion the Urals, and Siberia, and the2 percent wasdirectly to consumers at Volgallustrates the steady upward trend In Caspian Sea oil traffic in the prewar years.

r < period the rate of increase in the volume of

Caspian Sea oil traffic is believed to have leveled off somewhat because of increased oil production elsewhere and the development of pipelines across to Batumi on the Black Sea.

No reliable data are available either on the recent or on the present total volume of Caspian Sea traffic. It Is possible, however, to estimate the volume within very broad limits, using Soviet data and Western estimates. On that0 Caspian Sea traffic, exceptingis estimated at aboutillion metric tons. This estimate is derived

* ollows on


-Table 4

Petroleua Tonnage Hauled on the Caspian

Thousand Metric Top?



ae follows! (a) aboutercent of all Soviet petroleum production (estimated5 million metric tonsomes from the Caspian1 (b)ercent of that production moves in Caspian tankersnd (cT petroleum transport accounts for aboutercent of all Caspian traffic. The volume of traffic1 and at present is believed to be about the same as The Caspian Sea dry cargo fleet fulfilled the freight planith eight ships mentioned as having fulfilled the plan considerably ahead of Data on tanker fleet operations wero not mentioned. Progress thus faroreover, is apparently satisfactory. eport early In February praised the performanceumber of ships and noted that competition for the pre scheduled completion of the freight plan was in

Virtually the entire volume of Caspian Sea traffic le between Soviet ports, either on the sea or up the Volga. The volume of trade with Iran, the only foreign country bordering on the Caspian Sea, is negligible. Inears endingater-borne trade (practically all In Soviet bottoms) between the USSR and Tran totaled only0 metric tons, orercent of the estimated Soviet-flag Caspian Sea


2. Nature.

Current detailed Information on the nature of Caspian Sea traffic is limited to brief Soviet .press and radio reports and to occasional bits of intelligence fron diplomatic and defectorSince the Caspian isoviet sea, there are few opportunities for even limited surveillance of Soviet shipping operations by Western ships.

Se* shipping is heavily coventrated on the XYfor aboutercent of all

'bulk cargoes such as grain,

for aboutercent of the

teaffic OttODof

traffic, and general industrial cargoes moving down the Volga to ports on

the sea contribute to Caspian traffic, (See Tablebove.)

Astrakhan1 ie the center for petroleum traffic bound up the Volga from Baku, Krasnovodsk, and Makhachkala. Some oil cargoes move directly up the river in shallow-draft barges and tankers, but the major portion of such traffic ie transshipped at the roadstead below the port. Import traffic of Astrakhan' includes grain from Gur'yev and Krasnovodskarge Import trade in fish as well as salt and other commodities required by its fish-processing Industries. Large quantities of cotton are imported from the eastern shore of the Caspian. Astrakhan' alsoajor center for lumber moving downstream on the Volga. Export trade of Astrakhan' actually consists largely of re-exports of import traffic, since the port consumesmall part of ita Imports andelatively small part of its It does, however,onsiderable volume of export traffic in lumber products, meat, and miscellaneous foodstuffs which are sent to all Caspian ports as well as northward up the Volga.

Baku isetroleum export center, exporting principally to Astrakhan'. In addition to oil traffic to Astrakhan- and Krasnovodsk, Bakuubstantial volume of export trade in manufactured and industrial goods originating in the Black Sea area and bound for Krasnovodsk and Gur'yev on the eastern shore. Baku also Is the center for virtually all the small Soviet trade with Iran. This trade consists principally of sugar, cement, iron goods, and cotton products which are sent to the Iranian port of PahlevT, whence Baku imports food and agricultural products such as rice, dried fruit, tobacco, and raw

- al -

Makhachkala exports refined petroleum products to Astrakhan' and grain to Kraanovodak. Makhachkala la an Industrial center producing chemicala aircraft, and lumber products, and these exports move across the Caspian to Krasnovodsk in exchange for agricultural products of Central Asia. Quantities of salted fish also are exported from Makhachkala to Astrakhan'.

In Krasnovodsk the output of the nearby Neblt-Dag oil fields ls refined and sent to Astrakhan' and to construction projects ln Central Asia. Crude oil in excess of refinery capacity at Baku also is received at Krasnovodsk for refining and reshlpment to Baku as well as to other Caspian porta. Mineral salts, such as Glauber salts, from the nearby Kara-Bogai-Gol deposits move from Krasnovodsk to various Caspian ports, particularly to Makhachkala. Large shipmentn of lumber come down the Volga to this port for construction work under way ln nearby areas.

Cargoes from Gur'yev consist mostly of oil shipments brought by pipeline from the Emba oil fieldsiles to the east, and fish ls another leading export. Like that of Krasnovodsk, Gur'yev import traffio consists of lumber brought down tbe Volga for consignment to Central Asian areas and of industrial goods from Baku, Astrakhan', and Makhachkala.

Traffic in the small ports of Derbent, Lenkoran', and Fort Shevehenko ia varied in nature but email In volume. Derbent trades mostly in lumber and fish exports to Baku. Lenkoran' exports lumber and fish to Astrakhan'. Fort Shevehenkoenter for fish exports to Astrakhan'. of traffio ln coal and manganese to Makhachkala and petroleum to Kraanovodak must be greatly discounted because of the lack of rail lines to the port.

B. Probable Trflpda.

Caspian Sea Soviet-flag traffic doubtless will continue to increase steadily, although probably not so rapidly as it has increaaed since the. Caspian Sea traffio mounted sharply during this period fromillion metric tona6 to an estimatedillion metric tonshis increase largely reflected the great expansion of oil production around Baku, but increased production of cotton and grain in the area east of the Caspian Sea alsoignificant part. Development of the Bashkir oil fields, "the secondn the Urals vlll reduce greatly the dependence of the Industrial areas around the upper Volga on Caspian-borne oil shipments. The region south of Kuybyshev, however, vlll still depend on Caspian productionarge part of its oil requirements, and Stalingrad and surrounding regions also vill continue to be supplied from Baku via the Caspian route.


" T

he traffic generated by the continuing demand for

a?! , f ddiUonalt^fic vlU conalat of gmL and cotton from Krasnovodsk, Fort Shevehenko, and Gur'yev on the eastern shore shipped ^Astrakhan', up to the canal (at Krasnoarmeyak belovthence Into the Black Sea. Substantial cargoes of oU also vlll probably move to the Black Sea from Baku and Krasnovodsk through the canal although the volume of such traffic is not expected to affect Treatly the '


canal to Caspian ports vlll consist of coal and iron orTfrom theDonets Basin and manufactured goods from the Black Sea ports. One Soviet report stateHhat

f? vmfreight turnover of the Don Basinor six times the present level.

fincrease in the volume of Caspian Sea traffic to

be brought about by the opening of the Volga-Don route can be made. of the canal for all traffic has been estimated atons annually. & It is believed, hovaver, that actualSp^ all canal traffic vill move in part on

.The eTeatest Increase In Caspian Sea traffic probably vill be brought

^IJr?devel0pceiltB nou Peeress in Central Asia. Irrigation

ertainderate traffic from Krasnovodsk and Gur'yev across the Caspian to the Volga ports

^ These delelC'ts,

furthermore, vill require increased shipments of petroleum products from

lnaofar aB the Emba fields cannot supplyS?hQtIn Caspian traffic may bVthe

d^elopment of east-vest traffic to complement in par? the presentnorth-southP

V" glfTHfinan^ of Caspian fiea. Traffic to the Economrft ngen

Caspian Sea merchant shipping is of primary importance to theof on, cotton, fish, grain, and timber. The thot of the Soviet-flag ocean fleetUllon fflet^lc tons as compared vith aboutillionthough the ocean fleet is over six times as

^Ji PO"^oe of the Ca8plan tankor rleetabout double the slse

of the ocean-going tanker fleet of the USSR.


Tho Caspian Sea affords an excellent lou-cost route for movement of oU, grain, and cotton to consuming areas in tho west and the north. Although some exploitation of oil reserves In the Caspian region probably could have been carried out with the rail systems in tho area, great expansion of the rail systems would be required to approach the traffic capabilities of the tanker fleet, and rail haul would be much more costly. The economy of the USSR ls not tied to petroleum to the same degree as Is that of the US, but the relative ease with which petroleum can be moved across the Caspian and up the Volga contributes substantially to Soviet economic development, especially in the Stalingrad-Leningrad^-oscow trlangl*arge part of the Soviet industrial potential is located.


gabs' pi mu

reasons for these gaps Lr* outlined ln the Introduction.it3P' ^of the Caspian im

ireotlj. Mlrtid to.nd UoS jfe h^wtlMtM a.lt7 J* CUlTlvt

orPml"Kl'Information on th. Ltamt of trifle

SttS motion onwould. SSwTta^iS^'lf



The gathering of the basic information for this report consisted primarily of pulling together the relatively small amount of available intelligence considered to be pertinent and useful. This task was much simpler than the process usually involved in the preparationeport of this nature, because there is actually little intelligence available on Caspian Sea merchant shipping (as is explained ln thehe scope of the gathering process can be judged by the fact that the only available estimate as to the traffic capacity of the Volga-Don Canal (see IV B, above) is taken from US News and Worldhile other flgureB are taken from the Encyclopedia Brltann^pa.

The process of appraisal and evaluation is largely one of selecting material and assaying its reliability. Appraisal was fairly simpleof the small body of available Information. Evaluation, however, depends on several factors. Principal among theso aro familiarity with the topics of the report and some convictions as to the reliability of the basic material. The processes involved in the evaluation step, therefore, are intangibles, largely depending on the breadth and depth of knowledge.

The final step in the preparation of the report, coverage of appropriate topics, requires little description. Topics clearly within the scope of the study (nature and volume of traffic, for example) are treated infashion. On the other hand, topics such as ports are treated largely from the point of view of traffic and capacity, technicalbeing outside the framework of the report.



1. Evaluation

A large part of the sources for this report are of Soviet origin, directly or indirectly. Intelligence of non-Soviet origin la limited to the following:

Defector Reports.

CIA documents.

attache" reports.

War II photo-interpretation coverage,


Department peripheral reports.

The data from Soviet sources vary widely in value. Some are mere propaganda, whereas some are almost certainly true (each source quoted in the report is evaluated separately below), The little material used from non-Soviet sources is evaluated to be more consistent and isto be generally true, with the major exception of prisoner-of-war data, considered to be generally poor. The value of the non-Soviet intelligence, is, however, greatly diminished by its fragmentary nature. In general, it is safe to say that, despite their over-all degree of credibility, Western sources contributed little to the report with the exception of several defeotor reports on the tanker fleet and its operations, oil storage facilities, and fishing operationa. Some of these were of exceptional value and are cited in detail in the appropriate sections of the report.

2. Sources.


(Probably the best available source on details of the Caspian Sea merchant fleet. The data are old, however, and include a

number of vessels not actually knovn to be in the fleet. Evaluated no higher than possibly true.)


U (USSR; the Caucasushapter VI (Ports,


(Originallyoviet source; probably true.)


(See ccement underbove.)


y ONI, thia report is believed to be fairly reliable as to operational data but incomplete with respect to fleet data.)



e. ibid.bii.

CIA ORR estimate.


(Evaluated as probably true; fleet data probably in error.)

Department of the, Technical Branch; CIA ORR estimates.

Soviet published sources; State and ONI reports; CIA SO and 00

reports. U. Ibid.

ectionInland Waterriginal


(Soviet source; possibly true.)

(These details are probably true, but they do not supplant JANE, NE, end other reports for detailed but older information.)




Department of the, Technical Branch.

(This estimate is largely based on various Soviet sourcessuch as press, radio, and technical journalsand prisoner-of-war reports. The actual estimate of port capacity for handling dry cargo is derivedechnical appraisal of the facilities of the port on the basis of the foregoing source data. It is the best estimate available and is probably true.)




HEectionPorta and Naval Facilities),

Department of the kray. Corps of Engineers,An excellent report. The data are old but probably are the beat available.)

USSR; the Caucasushapter VI (Ports, Shipping,

and Navy).

(Photographs of the port taken in recent years show this information to be true. It is not likely that conditions have changed appreciably.)


(Soviet source; possibly true.)


Morskoy Flpt. Moscow,

(Soviet source; probably true.)


(Defector report; probably true.)

Flot. Moscow,

(See commentbove.)

Flot. Moscow,

oviet technical publication; probably true.)


Department of the, Teohnloal Branch.

(See commentbove.)

Report,oint Air Photographic Interpreta-

tion19. (The capacity figure reported in thia document is roughly eoulvalent to the dally production of .the entire Soviet petroleum industry. The eatlmate is believed to be several times that of the actual capacity of the port to handle petroleum.)

(See commentbove.)


oviet broadcast; probably true.)

of the, Technical Branch.

(See commentbove.)

(See commentbove.)

of the, Technical Branch.

(See commentbove.)

of the, Technical Branch; CIA CRR


(See commentbove.)


(Originally from Soviet sources; probably true.)

ectionInland Waterway Transport),

(From Soviet sources; possibly true.)


(See commentbove.)

Stroltelstvor SSSR..

(Soviet statistics; possibly true.)

PcrevozoV nallvnvkh rruzovublished by CIA

(One of the few sources for actual tonnage statistics, this Soviet economic analysis is estimated to be probably true. It Is not clear, however, whether transshipment traffic is included In tho data, and for that roason the figures must be taken with some reserve.)


O'jl Intelligence Review.

(Although the original source la not known, lt la probably Soviet and probably true.)


CIA ORB estimate from various Soviet sources.

(This estimate Is believed to be fairly olose to the actual proportion which oil cargoes form of all Caspian Sea Soviet merchant shipping traffic.)

(Soviet broadcast source; probably true.)


(Soviet broadcast source; probably true.)

rom Tehran,

(Iranian official statistics; probably true.)

CIA ORR estimate.

Staterom Tehran,

(This description of traffic is estimated to be true.)


oviet technical Journal; possibly true, although it cannot be judged accurately.)

Hews and World Report.

(The original source of the estimate Is not known but

lsestern estimate based on Soviet propaganda,

which may overstate the capacity of the route.)


Original document.

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