Possible Nord Stream 2 pipe-laying vessel on course for Russia - data

MOSCOW (Reuters) - A pipe-laying vessel expected to be used to finish the Moscow-led Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, is heading towards the Russian port of Kaliningrad, away from the Danish waters where work has yet to be finished, Refinitiv Eikon data showed on Monday.

The $11 billion Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, which Moscow wants to build on the bed of the Baltic Sea to Germany to double the existing Nord Stream pipeline’s capacity, has become a focal point of Russia’s confrontation with the West.

The ship-tracking data showed the vessel the Akademik Cherskiy is estimated to arrive at offshore Kaliningrad on Oct. 7. It has been stationed near the German port of Mukran in the Baltic, the staging area for the pipeline’s construction, since May.

Nord Stream 2 declined comment.

Construction of the 1,230-kilometer pipeline is nearly finished but a final stretch of roughly 120-kilometres in Danish waters still needs to be laid.

Work was halted in December as pipe-laying company Swiss-Dutch Allseas suspended operations because U.S. sanctions targeted companies providing vessels to lay the pipes.

The project has faced opposition from some European countries, especially since Moscow’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014.

The alleged poisoning of Alexei Navalny, a prominent Kremlin critic, has led to intensified calls from Western politicians to block the project.

Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin; editing by Barbara Lewis