NewsDamaged gas pipeline between Estonia and Finland. Suspicions object fell from a Chinese ship

Damaged gas pipeline between Estonia and Finland. Suspicions object fell from a Chinese ship

The patrol ship of the Finnish maritime guard near the location where the damaged Balticconnector gas pipeline is located.
The patrol ship of the Finnish maritime guard near the location where the damaged Balticconnector gas pipeline is located.
Images source: © East News | AFP PHOTO, STRINGER

12:38 PM EDT, October 23, 2023

During underwater research conducted at the Balticconnector gas pipeline, a "heavy object" was found that could have damaged the pipeline running through the Gulf of Finland - the Finnish police announced on Friday, emphasizing that the investigation is currently focusing on the role of a cargo ship sailing under the Hong Kong flag.

At the bottom of the sea, near the site of the pipeline damage, a heavy object is buried under a thick layer of silt.

Damaged gas pipeline. Chinese ship is being checked

"We will be checking what it is and whether it could have caused damage to the pipeline" - was stated in a statement by the Central Criminal Police Bureau (KRP), which is conducting an investigation into damage to the undersea Balticconnector gas pipeline between Finland and Estonia.

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It has also been confirmed that currently the role of the Chinese freighter Newnew Polar Bear, sailing under the Hong Kong flag, is being investigated during the inquiry. According to investigators, the course of the ship in the waters of the Gulf of Finland coincides with the time and place of the pipeline damage.

We have been in contact with Chinese authorities on this matter – stated the investigation's leading superintendent Risto Lohi. Diplomatic actions in cooperation with Chinese and Russian parties have also been taken up by the Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, pointing out the ongoing investigation in the country and the "severity of the case" – was conveyed in the message.

Damage to the gas pipeline between Estonia and Finland

The Estonian newspaper "Postimees" wrote at the beginning of the week that the Newnew Polar Bear - while passing through the Gulf of Finland - slowed down as it approached the gas pipeline. Finnish police reported in earlier statements that the role of the Russian nuclear-powered barge Siewmorput from Murmansk is also under investigation.

During the investigation, it was confirmed that the damage to the gas pipeline was caused by the action of "mechanical force". Based on the current data, the possibility of an explosion has been ruled out.

During the gas pipeline failure, which was reported on Sunday, October 8, damage also occurred to a telecommunication cable running through the Gulf of Finland, which is being investigated by the Estonian side. The locations of the damage are at a depth of 197-230 feet.

The Finnish Intelligence and Counterintelligence Service (SUPO), which currently plays an expert role during the police investigation, does not rule out that another country may be behind the act of sabotage of the gas pipeline.

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