Moscow, May 18 (IANS) A cargo-passenger ferry service linking Russia and North Korea has started regular trips and completed its first journey on Thursday.
The Man Gyong Bong ferry left the North Korean port city of Rason on Wednesday and arrived in Russia's Far Eastern city of Vladivostok on Thursday morning, state news agency TASS reported.
The trip marked the beginning of a once-weekly regular cargo-passenger service. An estimated 40 passengers boarded the boat for the maiden voyage.
"These are Russian citizens, who are returning from North Korea, and tourists from China," said Mikhail Khmel, deputy director general of Investstroytrest, the company that owns RosKor, the ferry's operator.
Khmel said the vessel will make the return journey on May 19.
The company expects most of its passengers to be Chinese tourists, who will be able to visit both Russia's Primorye region and North Korea in one trip, Khmel told TASS.
The Man Gyong Bong ferry was built in 1971 and underwent remodification last year. It can take up to 200 passengers on board and about 1,500 tonnes of cargo.