The Russian pipe layer Akademik Chersky, the only Russian vessel capable of building the Nord Stream-2 gas pipeline, has again changed its course, according to data on the ship tracking portals Marine Traffic and Vesselfinder.
According to the portals, on Sunday morning, the vessel set a course for the Far Eastern Russian port city of Nakhodka, from which it departed on 10 February.
The pipe-laying vessel has changed its course several times recently. It has been operated by “Gazprom Fleet” since 2016.
At the end of December, Allseas Group S.A. (a Swiss-based offshore contractor specialising in pipelaying) suspended work on Nord Stream 2 amid the threat of US sanctions against the pipeline as part of the US National Defenсe Authorization Act for the 2020 fiscal year.
Completion of Nord Stream 2 Project
In December 2019, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said that the use of the vessel Akademik Cherskiy remains one of several options to wrap up the Nord Stream 2 project, but that it will take time to prepare the ship to implement the mission.
In turn, Russian President Vladimir Putin said in January that the pipeline should be finished by 2021, or by the first quarter of next year at the latest.
The current developments come after US President Trump authorised the secretaries of State and the Treasury Department in February to implement a portion of the country's national defence bill that calls for sanctions against the Nord Stream 2 project.
Nord Stream 2 is a joint venture between Russian energy giant Gazprom and five European companies, France's ENGIE, Austria's OMV, the UK-Dutch Royal Dutch Shell, and Germany's Uniper and Wintershall.
The 745-mile twin gas pipeline will carry up to 55 billion cubic metres (1.942 trillion cubic feet) of natural gas per year from Russia to Germany under the Baltic Sea, passing through the territorial waters or exclusive economic zones of Denmark, Finland, Germany, Russia, and Sweden.