Germany’s Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency has revealed that the Fortuna – a Russian-flagged pipelaying crane vessel, will be engaged in pipelaying activity in German waters.
In a navigational warning on its website, the agency states that the Fortuna will be working in the southern Baltic Sea off Ruegen, a large German island situated in the country’s northeast. The warning is in effect from December 5 to 31.
Germany’s maritime agency (BSH) issues a navigational warning stating that Fortuna vessel is going to lay pipes in German waters near Ruegen island. It is the first time someone officially names the vessel for NS2 construction this year, after US sanctions took effect. /1 https://t.co/KHyfvwOLmD pic.twitter.com/4Az9rPq6pI— Иван Ткачев (@IvanTkachev1) December 5, 2020
According to maritime portal MarineTraffic, the Fortuna is currently located near the port of Wismar (a German port city about 200 km northwest of Berlin).
Earlier, MarineTraffic data indicated that Russia’s Akademik Cherskiy pipelayer was anchored some 150 km off the port of Mukran, Nord Stream 2’s logistical base, after leaving the Russian port of Kaliningrad on Thursday. Several supply vessels, including the Umka, another Russian-flagged ship, are thought to be situated nearby.
On Tuesday, a German Maritime and Hydrographic Agency spokesperson announced that Nord Stream 2 AG would resume work on the infrastructure project on Saturday, with the Akademik Cherskiy named as the vessel that would engage in the pipelaying operations.
On December 1, the agency confirmed that the permit for laying the pipeline in German waters remains valid through the month of December, and that a request to extend it through the period of January to April was under consideration.
On Thursday, US lawmakers finalised the 2021 National Defence Authorisation Act, a massive $740 billion defence spending package which also includes sanctions against Nord Stream 2, and against Turkey over the latter’s decision to buy Russian-made S-400 air defence systems.
Moscow slammed the new proposed sanctions, describing them as “nothing but a manifestation of unfair competition". The European Commission condemned US plans to expand sanctions, calling them a violation of international law and warning that Brussels would be prepared to defend its interests if Washington moved forward with its plans. Prior to sanctions, the US repeatedly proposed replacing Russian gas deliveries with more expensive US LNG supplies.
Project Crucial to German Energy Security
Nord Stream 2 is a $10.5 billion energy infrastructure project between Gazprom and Western European energy concerns Uniper, Wintershall, OMV, Engie, and Royal Dutch Shell. Once completed, the pipeline network will double the existing 55 billion cubic meters of gas per year capacity of the Nord Stream network to 110 billion cubic meters, and turn Germany into an energy hub for deliveries further west.