In the afternoon, the approximately 300-meter privateer arrived at the Jade off Wilhelmshaven and proceeded to her future berth at a newly built small wharf north of the deep water port JadeWeserPort. Several police forces secure the site on the North Sea near the coastal town of Hooksell – on water, land and air. In addition to the police helicopters and water police boats that accompanied the “Höegh Esperanza”, there are also special forces on site. The public, however, was not allowed.
Police: There is no real danger
Acts of vandalism by climate activists were previously feared – but that did not happen on Thursday. She also added at noon that there was no tangible danger. “We are not aware of any disturbances today,” a police spokesman said.
The closure is in effect even after the opening ceremony
Regardless of this, safety precautions must continue to be adhered to. Protests, in particular, are expected on Saturday, when the opening ceremony of the hall is scheduled. Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD), Federal Minister for Economics Robert Habeck (Green) and Prime Minister of Lower Saxony Stefan Weil (SPD) are expected among others. Near the Voslapper Groden handling facility of station operator Uniper, many roads were closed until Saturday including – especially in the Baederstrasse district. In addition, the prohibition of flying drones within a radius of 2.5 kilometers is enforced.
“Höegh Esperanza” will be running before Christmas
With the arrival of the ship, the Wilhelmshaven LNG station became a home stretch. On Thursday a week later (December 22), gas will be pumped into the German network from the station for the first time. The “Höegh Esperanza” with a length of 294 meters and a width of 46 meters is used both as a floating tank and for the vaporization of liquid natural gas delivered: the LNG is gasified while on board and pumped ashore. Höegh Esperanza already brings in 170,000 cubic meters of LNG. The ship will remain permanently docked in Wilhelmshaven and serve as a floating platform for landing LNG transported by tankers and converting it back into a gaseous state. From mid-January, additional carriers are scheduled to deliver LNG to Wilhelmshaven.
Environmentalists criticize the discharge of chlorine into the North Sea
Environmentalists criticize the fact that “Höegh Esperanza” is planned as the first LNG (liquefied natural gas) import terminal. Because in 2019, the Australian authorities refused the ship because its pipelines had to be kept clear with the help of chlorine. This is then directed without explanation into the North Sea near Wilhelmshaven. It is said to contain about 35 tons of chlorine per year. Environmentalists warn that the Wadden Sea would be polluted, even if the chlorine was diluted significantly. Environmental organizations like BUND and NABU have announced that they will carefully examine permits that have been available to the public since Monday — and reserve the right to sue.
Environment Minister Meyer: Threshold values are observed
The Ministry of the Environment of Lower Saxony indicates intensive scrutiny of environmental and safety standards by the authorities. Environment Minister Christian Meyer (The Greens) said all applicable limit values would be complied with. Discharges into the sea will remain as low as possible. Aquatic environmental monitoring will also be intensified “in order to rule out any deterioration in the environmental situation,” says Meyer. Environmentalists counter that the planned water monitoring is “just a drop in the ocean”, says Holger Buchmann, head of the state of NABU in Lower Saxony. The habitat of many animal and plant species, some of which are already endangered, will be destroyed in the middle of the UNESCO World Heritage Wadden Sea.
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