Swiss Allseas withdraws pipe-laying vessels from Nord Stream 2 construction zone following US sanctions
The Swiss company Allseas, which has been laying the pipes of Nord Stream 2, has withdrawn its ships from the construction zone in the Baltic Sea.
Allseas declined to provide an estimate of how long the construction of Nord Stream 2 would be delayed by.
A total of three of Allseas’ ships were involved in the laying of the pipeline, including the “Pioneering Spirit” – the world’s largest ship for assembling and transporting sea platforms and laying underwater pipelines. On December 21, Gazprom’s longstanding contractor announced that it would be suspending its work on Nord Stream 2 due to the threat of US sanctions.
Several hours after the announcement, US President Donald Trump signed the National Defense Authorization Act for 2020, which includes sanctions against companies involved in the construction of Gazprom’s Nord Stream 2 and Turkish Stream. Companies that come under the sanctions will have all of their assets in the US frozen, be banned from operating in the US, and be banned from sending any company representatives to the US.
Germany, the key beneficiary of Nord Stream 2, has described the sanctions as interference in its internal affairs. The European Commission has also spoken against the US’s measures. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that Russia will respond to the sanctions, and promised to finish building the gas pipeline.