Weathervane of Freedom on FSRU Independence; Source: KN Energies

Lithuania’s FSRU marks its tin anniversary with folk art depicting energy independence road

Lithuania’s floating storage and regasification unit (FSRU) has been decorated with a traditional weathervane portraying milestones in the country’s path to energy independence in celebration of the tenth anniversary of the vessel’s docking at the Klaipėda liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal.

Weathervane of Freedom on FSRU Independence; Source: KN Energies

The traditional decoration in the form of a Curonian weathervane, called the Weathervane of Freedom, shows important moments on the country’s way to independence. The events span almost a century, starting with the signing of the Act of Independence, and ending with the mooring of the FSRU Independence in the port of Klaipėda in 2014.

As the arrival of the FSRU is described as a key factor in the country’s energy autonomy, the vessel’s commercial operator, KN Energies, which is expected to become its owner at the end of this year, launched this initiative to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the event.

KN Energies’ CEO, Darius Šilenskis, noted: “The mooring of the Independence in the Port of Klaipėda in 2014 was a historic event, comparable in significance to Lithuania’s accession to the European Union and NATO. In today’s geopolitical landscape, true political independence is impossible without energy independence.

“Thanks to the Independence, Lithuania secured this and became the first European country to completely refuse Russian gas imports. This achievement marks an important milestone in Lithuania’s journey to freedom and stands as a symbol of that journey. This significance is now commemorated by a unique weathervane adorning the terminal’s hull.”

The 31-meter-long and eight-meter-high weathervane was applied to both sides of the Independence’s hull at a shipyard in Denmark, where the FSRU was dry-docked earlier this month to undergo inspection and repair work.

Created by a trio comprising Curonian weathervane maker Vaidotas Bliūdžius, historian Norbertas Černiauskas, and muralist Artur Širin, the combination of a traditional form and contemporary symbols tell the story of Lithuania’s freedom and illustrate the country’s pursuit of political and energy independence.

“The Curonian Spit decorative weathervanes, which are included in the list of intangible cultural values of Lithuania, are found nowhere else – only in our country. It is a unique object of folk art and an authentic storytelling tool that has been preserved until today,” noted Bliūdžius, who contributed to the creation of the weathervane. 

“Each element of the weathervanes created by the inhabitants of the Curonian Spit had a meaning and was connected to the common story of the fisherman’s origin, history, values, and faith. This form is also preserved in the Independence weathervane, which will tell everyone who looks at it about Lithuania as a freedom-loving country.” 

After the Russia-Ukraine war started in 2022, Lithuania decided to stop Russian gas imports and meet all its natural gas needs through Independence. The Klaipeda terminal is therefore thought to play an important role in ensuring the country’s energy security, as it enables imports from all over the world, paving the way for a natural gas market in Lithuania.

Active since 2014, with commercial activities starting a year later, the LNG terminal consists of a permanently moored FSRU called Independence, built by South Korea’s HD Hyundai Heavy Industries.

The importance of LNG for the country was reinforced with last month’s deal to enhance seafarers’ competencies in the servicing, management, and maintenance of LNG carriers and FSRUs signed between KN Energies, the Lithuanian Maritime Academy (LAJM), and Hoegh LNG Klaipėda, the technical operator of the FSRU Independence.

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