12 May 2020 21:51

Gazprom pipelayer berthed at Mukran port

MOSCOW/KALININGRAD. May 12 (Interfax) - Gazprom's pipelaying vessel Akademik Chersky has moved fr om anchorage to berth at the German port of Mukran, according to marine traffic data.

The Akademik Chersky has been moored at the longest berth, which has a rail track, including of the Russian width. Berthed nearby are Russia's Fortuna pipelaying barge and Germany's Boka Constructor dredger.

It is known that Mukran houses the logistics terminal of the Nord Stream 2 construction project.

It was reported that the Akademik Chersky arrived at Mukran fr om Russia's territorial waters wh ere she lay in the roadstead off Baltiysk for several days, having crossed over from Nakhodka. While there, the vessel stocked up on fuel, food and water supplies and took on additional crew members.

The Akademik Chersky left the Russian Far Eastern port of Nakhodka in early February. Having circumvented Africa from the south, i.e. not using the Suez Canal, the vessel arrived at the country's western enclave. When crossing the Northern and Baltic Seas towards Baltiysk the Akademik Chersky was escorted by a military vessel, the rescue tug SB-123.

It is expected that this pipelaying vessel could be used to finish the construction of the Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline in the Baltic Sea. The construction, by European contractors, was stalled by U.S. sanctions. Gazprom's deputy CEO Yelena Burmistrova said in January that the project, which was now "nearly 94% complete will be completed by the Russian side."

In its recent IFRS report Gazprom wrote that it was working "on various options for completion and launch of the pipeline."

Gazprom bought the vessel in 2015 to be independent from foreign contractors and sanctions-related risks during construction of its new exported gas pipelines. The ship arrived in Russia in 2017 and has since been upgraded and further equipped at a shipyard in Nakhodka. Last summer Gazprom used the Akademik Chersky for the first time in building offshore infrastructure at the Kirinskoye and Yuzhno-Kirinskoye fields.