NS2 Pipelayer on Route to Cape Town
The Gazprom-owned Akademik Cherskiy pipelaying vessel, which Russia has said is capable of completing the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, has set a course for Cape Town in South Africa, ship tracking data shows.
Its estimated date of arrival is March 27. The ship left the Far Eastern port of Nakhodka on February 10 and has travelled past southeast Asia to Africa so far, repeatedly changing course on the way. Earlier it was shown to be headed to Suez, Egypt, but it avoided the canal and went on towards Maputo, Mozambique. It had been due to arrive at the latter port on March 23.
The vessel is just off the South African coast near Port Alfred, travelling at a speed of just over 18 km/hour, and is expected to finish its journey off Denmark, in the Baltic Sea.
Russian officials suggested late last year that the Akademik Cherskiy could be used to complete Nord Stream 2 if international contractors were unable to work on the pipeline. Swiss-based Allseas abandoned Nord Stream 2 in late December, with just 6% of its offshore section left to lay, after the US imposed new sanctions on the project.