A Russian vessel capable of completing the pipelaying for the Gazprom-led Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline project left a German port on Wednesday and entered Danish waters where the last section of the controversial pipeline has yet to be completed.
According to vessel-tracking data from Refinitiv Eikon cited by Reuters, Russian ship Fortuna, sailing under a Russian flag, departed from the Mukran port in Germany on the Baltic Sea and moved into Danish territorial waters.
The move comes several days after the Danish Energy Agency allowed Nord Stream 2 AG to use pipelaying vessels with anchors for the construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipelines. The Danish agency previously allowed self-positioning pipelaying vessels (DP pipe-laying vessels) in the construction permit for the Nord Stream 2 pipelines.
With an anchored Russian vessel, Gazprom could complete the construction of the pipeline in Danish waters. Because of the U.S. sanctions on the Nord Stream 2 project from December, Western vessel and technology providers pulled out of the project.
Following the announcement of the sanctions, Switzerland-based offshore pipelay and subsea construction company Allseas immediately suspended Nord Stream 2 pipelay activities.
Russian officials have claimed that Russian firms can complete the project without the help of foreign partners.
U.S. lawmakers, for their part, have been seeking more sanctions on the Nord Stream 2 project, which the United States sees as further undermining Europe’s energy security by giving Russian gas giant Gazprom another pipeline to ship its natural gas to European markets.
The U.S. sanctions on the project have divided Europe, with Germany criticizing the U.S. interference in Europe’s energy policies and projects. Germany, the endpoint of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, looks at the economic benefits of the project, while the U.S., including President Donald Trump, have been threatening sanctions on the project and even on Germany over its support for the project.