The Akademik Chersky vessel, capable of completing the Nord Stream-2 gas pipeline, has changed its owner: now it belongs to the Samara Thermal Energy Property Fund (STIF). This was reported in the extract from the registration of the ship in the Russian international registry of ships.
Previously, the operating organization “Akademika Cherskogo” indicated Gazprom Fleet LLC, information about the owner was not posted anywhere. It is noted that a subsidiary of Gazprom acquired the ship in 2015. As of March 31, 2020, STIF was part of the Gazprom Group.
The authorized capital of STIF is 123 million rubles, the fund is mainly engaged in rental and property management. At the end of March, the fund changed its registration from Samara to St. Petersburg.
According to Anton Imennov, Managing Partner of Pen & Bar, Moscow office of RBC’s Grigory Berezkin’s publication, if the fund was made the owner of the vessel, then possible US sanctions against this legal entity are considered “non-hazardous”. Now, the ship itself may fall under sanctions.
On May 29, the Akademik Chersky vessel returned to the German port of Mukran, which is the base for the project.
“Academician Chersky” left the port of Nakhodka in mid-February, after which he repeatedly changed course and set the wrong endpoints of the route until he entered the Baltic Sea.
The Russian authorities and Gazprom do not officially confirm but do not refute, that Academician Chersky will complete the project, although earlier it was repeatedly called the most likely option.