The Foreign Intelligence Service of Ukraine (SVR) reported that due to US sanctions, Nord Stream 2 is being built with technologically outdated vessels. In Kiev, however, they did not take into account that the age of the ships does not always matter and, for example, the Baltic Gas Pipeline will be built by a fleet that is two or even four times older than the ships participating in the construction of the gas pipeline from Russia to Germany.
“Due to the refusal of foreign companies to attract an advanced technological fleet, Russia is forced to complete the construction of Nord Stream 2 using its own forces, which today are represented by vessels in a pre-emergency state and are technologically outdated,” the Foreign Intelligence Service of Ukraine said and indicated eight supply vessels Nord Stream 2: Veni, Vladislav Strizhov, Yuri Topchev, Umku, Vengers, Finval and Erri.
Ukrainian intelligence officers pointed out that the Katun has been in the Danish port of Munkebo since March 16 and has external damage not only to the hull, but also to the controls. At the same time, the tactical and technical characteristics of Umka no longer meet the maximum speeds and loads with which Russia is trying to complete construction. The SVR believes that due to the use of technologically outdated vessels, there is a threat of a man-made disaster with regional environmental consequences.
The motives of Ukrainian intelligence for such statements are quite understandable: fearing the loss of income from transit, Kiev is doing everything to stop the project. At the same time, the SVR statement can be perceived as praise for Nord Stream 2. Indeed, before the US sanctions, the gas pipeline was built mainly with the most modern ships in the world, and after the restrictions were imposed, they were forced to use a less technologically advanced fleet. However, both in terms of its age and capacity, it surpasses the fleet, which, for example, was building the Trans-Adriatic gas pipeline to supply Azerbaijani gas to Europe and will lay the Baltic gas pipeline from Norway to Poland.
For example, the barge “Fortuna” was built in 2010, and the “Academician Chersky” – in 2016. Both pipelayers underwent modernization and retrofitting last year. Meanwhile, two of the three Baltic Gas Pipeline pipelayers, Castoro Sei and Castoro 10, were launched from the shipyard back in 1978 and 1976. The former also built the Trans-Adriatic Gas Pipeline, which is part of the Southern Gas Corridor from Azerbaijan.
Among the vessels of the Baltic Gas Pipeline, the Danish Maritime Authority indicated dredging vessels and dredgers Heimdal R Mjolner R, Harald Toste R. The completion of their construction dates back to 1992-1999.
Against this backdrop, Russian supply vessels look young. If Umka was built in 1998, Finval in 2003, Yuri Topchev and Vladislav Strizhov in 2006, Erri and Venger in 2010, and Katun in 2016.
At the same time, for example, the power of the main engine of the “technologically outdated” supply vessel “Umka” is 10,600 kW, while the supply vessel EDT Hercules, which is now operating along the Baltic Gas Pipeline route off the coast of Denmark, has a total capacity of less than 7,000 kW.
However, the compliance of ships is determined not by a certain expert environment, to which the Foreign Intelligence Service of Ukraine refers, and not even by the date of their construction, but by other criteria, including their certification. For example, Danish shipyard Fayard, which serviced the Katun supply vessel in March, says its vessel maintenance programs ensure that vessels comply with all operational requirements and classifications and regulations.
On March 28, the supply vessel “Katun” left the Danish port and has already made voyages to Kaliningrad and Rostock. The ship is now heading to the German Mukran.