The Castoro 6 pipelay vessel arrived in Swedish waters. She is now moored off the coast of the island of Gotland, at a point located about 675 kilometres from the pipeline’s starting point near Vyborg, Russia, and 550 kilometres from the end point at Lubmin near Greifswald, Germany. Laying of the first section of the Nord Stream Pipeline will start here after the equipment of the Castoro 6 has undergone some final checks and fine tuning and crew has been flown in.
All vessels used in the Nord Stream project work under the International Regulations for the Prevention of Collision at Sea. The pipelay vessel is anchored and not able to manoeuvre freely. Therefore, a safety (exclusion) zone will be implemented around the Castoro 6, in addition to normal navigational measures. This safety zone has a diameter of 6 kilometres, ensuring that there will be no interference with ship traffic during anchor-handling operations for example. Anchor-handling tugs typically work within about one kilometre from the pipelay vessel.
Information in nine languages
Fishermen, coast guards, and other stakeholders are being regularly informed on all construction activities – as agreed upon during the project’s planning phase. A newsletter is being distributed to 1,600 recipients in nine languages every week, both in print and electronically. Moreover, it is standard procedure to issue Notice to Mariners warnings well in advance of construction activities and these are backed up by regular Navtex (telex) warnings and verbal warnings broadcast on marine VHF radios.
The Castoro 6 is scheduled to start pipe laying in April, near her current location, about 30 kilometres off the island of Gotland in April. The Nord Stream Pipeline is scheduled to transport natural gas to Europe from 2011. When fully completed in 2012, it will transport 55 billion cubic metres (bcm) of natural gas – enough to meet the needs of 26 million European households.