NS2 Ship Heads for Suez
The Akademik Cherskiy, a pipe-laying vessel that Russia has suggested it could use to complete the sanctioned Nord Stream 2 project, is now bound for the Egyptian port of Suez, ship tracking data shows.
The Gazprom-owned vessel left the Far Eastern port of Nakhodka in mid-February, headed for Singapore. Before its estimated arrival time of February 22, however, tracking data shows it set a new course for the Sri Lankan capital of Colombo.
The ship is expected to reach Suez on March 25, according to the latest data.
The US approved sanctions in late December penalising any companies involved in laying Russia's beleaguered Nord Stream 2 project. This prompted Swiss-based Allseas to halt work on the pipeline. Earlier, Russian energy minister Alexander Novak said that the Akademik Cherskiy would be able to complete the remaining 6% of the 1,230-km pipeline if foreign vessels could not be used.
Gazprom on February 10 selected an contractor to install welding and technical equipment on the vessel and undertake other upgrades, without disclosing their identity. Both Singapore and Colombo have shipyards.
Nord Stream 2 is now expected on stream by early 2021, more than a year behind schedule, as a result of Denmark's delay in issuing construction permits and the sanctions.