US sanctions Russian ship over Nord Stream 2
Published: Jan 19, 2021 06:03 PM

File photo taken on Oct. 8, 2012 shows Nord Stream pipeline equipments before the opening ceremony of the North Stream second gas link in Portovaya bay, some 60 kilometers from the town of Vyborg in northwestern Russia. Photo:Xinhua

A Russian ship tasked with laying pipes to complete construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline will be placed under sanctions by the US, German officials said.

"This is the announcement of a sanction of a Russian ship. We take note of the announcement with regret," a ministry spokesperson said, confirming a report in the Handelsblatt newspaper that Washington was expected to make the decision official on Tuesday.

Work on the 10 billion euro ($11 billion) pipeline resumed in German waters in December after being suspended for nearly a year because of the threat of US sanctions.

Signed off by US President Donald Trump in late 2019, the measures threatened asset freezes and visa restrictions for companies involved in the construction.

According to the Handelsblatt, the US informed Germany and several European countries that it would censure the pipeline laying vessel Fortuna, owned by the Russian company KVT-RUS.

The ship helped work to restart on the site in December by laying a short section of pipeline in German waters. 

The Trump administration repeatedly criticized Germany and other European nations for relying on importing energy from Russia.

Besides Russian ­giant Gazprom, which has a ­majority stake in the project, the international consortium involved in the pipeline includes European players such as ­Germany's ­Wintershall and Uniper groups, the Dutch-British ­giant Shell, France's Engie and ­Austria's OMV.