Two Russian ships put under surveillance due to suspicious movements
The Irish Defence Forces scrambled to deploy ships and aircraft after spotting the two Russian government vessels 'Umka' and 'Bakhtemir' off the west coast equipped with technology capable of interfering with subsea cables. Suspicions were raised when the ships were spotted loitering near a newly operational communications cable linking Ireland and Iceland. Both ships had been involved in the construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, resulting in them being sanctioned by the US government. After being spotted, the ships were put under surveillance by Air Corps aircraft and Naval Service assets. However, later analysis determined the ships’ unusual movements were probably a result of efforts to avoid bad weather, rather than anything sinister. Both ships left the Irish Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) on March 27, 2023, and are currently sailing south to the port of Malabo with an ETA as of April 19. They departed the northern Russian port of Murmansk three weeks ago. They remained under surveillance during their time in the Irish EEZ. EU countries, including Ireland, have stepped up surveillance of vital subsea infrastructure since the explosions that disabled the Nord Stream pipelines. The ships had thus raised serious concerns among Irish military officials due to their movements around the IRIS high-speed, subsea communications cable, which became operational in 2022 and runs west off the Galway coast. The ships appeared to double back on themselves several times in the general area of the cable. Suspicions were heightened after an Air Corps aircraft observed one of the ships towing a large platform. This was later confirmed to be a 100m long cable-laying barge.
Laid up ship to be converted into standby vessel
After 18 months lay up outside Ålesund the "Olympic Poseidon" was to be converted into a standby vessel operated by Høyland Offshore and renamed "Sayan Cloudberry". As part of the restructuring of Stig Remøy offshore shipping company Olympic Ship, the bank Nordea became owner of three offshore vessels. Two of them, the "Olympic Hera" and "Olympic Commander", were chartered by the Austevoll shipping company DOF, which also has an option to purchase the vessels. The "Olympic Poseidon" has been sold to Sevnor and was handed over on Feb 13, 2017. She was then moved to Steinsland in Bergenfor installation of firefightin canons and a rescue boat. The vessel, which has no contract to go to, should also be reclassified. The anchor handling characteristics will be retained. The "Sayan Cloudberry" will be operated by Høyland Offshore, which already operates the "Sayan Princess" for Sevnor. The plan is to offer it on term contracts. Funding is by the owners of the Cyprus company Sevnor Ltd. One of the owners is Gunnar Nordsletten, a Norwegian who is living in Russia. The company already owns two ice-class cargo ships that are sailing between Murmansk and Yamal. The Sevnor Ltd. has also entered into a strategic partnership with Viking Supply Ships for Russia where Sevnor is responsible for marketing and commercial operations. In the offshore segment owner they already supply ship Sayan Princess, operating in the spot market in the UK sector. In addition, they have an anchor handling vessels being commissioned in Turkey, which will be ready during the year. Hull and superstructure and 40 containers with equipment bought from SPP in South Korea, after they failed to complete the new building for an Italian company. Neither the contract in wait. - Vier looking for more ships, says Babisnki. Nordea will not comment How the deal turns out business for the seller, is uncertain. According to E24, Nordea had pledged to ship 150 million when they took over ownership before Christmas. Outstanding debt in the ship may have been lower. Press Officer Christian Steffensen in Nordea in Norway say they do not want to comment on the matter.Upload News