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Foreign vessels active in Nord Stream 2 construction area, operator says

Naval vessels of foreign countries are constantly registered near service ships performing work, according to Andrei Minin

MOSCOW, April 1. /TASS/. Foreign warships and vessels are demonstrating higher activity in the pipelay area of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, Branch Director of Nord Stream 2 AG, the project operator, Andrei Minin told reporters on Thursday.

"Higher activity of naval vessels, airplanes and helicopters and civilian vessels of foreign states is observed in the work area after restarted construction of the offshore segment of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, whose actions are often clearly provocative," Minin said.

The 1.5-mile safety area is established when implementing such projects, he said."Nevertheless, naval vessels of foreign countries are constantly registered (including by tactical numbers) near service ships performing work. The Polish antisubmarine warfare airplane PZL-Mielec M-28B1 Rbi is regularly flying around the work area at a small height and closely to the pipelay vessel," the branch director said.

The foreign activity around pipelay vessels has intensified recently, Minin noted. On March 28, an unidentified submarine appeared up-top at a distance less than a mile in the safety area of the piplelay vessel, he said. "Considering that anchor lines of Fortuna are situated at a distance above one mile, actions of the submarine could render inoperative the whole anchor positioning system of the pipeline barge and lead to pipeline damage," the director said.

"More dangerous accidents" were noted in recent months that were related to the entry of fishing vessels into the safety area, Minin said. Actions of naval vessels and aircraft and civilian vessels of foreign states breaching the safety area of the project "create a real threat of occurrence of accidents with unpredictable consequences," he noted.

"This refers to obviously planned and prepared provocations, with the use of fishing vessels as well as naval vessels, submarines and aircraft for the purpose of obstructing the economic project. It is probably an unprecedented case of such a kind in history," the branch director said.