Finland Says Chinese Container Ship Damaged Baltic Gas Pipeline
An Ongoing Investigation Says Chinese Ship's Anchor Caused Damage
Finnish police announced on Friday that they are investigating a Chinese ship in connection with the suspected sabotage of a pipeline between Finland and Estonia, Oil and Gas Daily wrote on October 20, citing a report from Agence France-Press. In the days since this report, Finland has stated that the anchor of a Chinese container ship dislodged and damaged the pipeline, Euronews reported. The pipeline was damaged earlier this month, leading to a leak and subsequent shutdown.
Authorities have been investigating the cause of the damage, which they believe was caused by "external" activity. The National Bureau of Investigation stated in a press release that the movements of the vessel Newnew Polar Bear, flying the flag of Hong Kong, align with the time and location of the gas pipeline damage.
"We will be working with Chinese authorities to determine the role of the said vessel," said Detective Superintendent Risto Lohi. The police have also confirmed that the damage was caused by an external mechanical force and have found a heavy object near the damaged pipeline.
"A recently formed huge clump of soil containing probably an extremely heavy object has been found in the seabed," Lohi stated. The police plan to lift the object from the seabed to further investigate its potential connection to the damaged pipeline.
The pipeline operator announced last week that it will take at least five months to repair the pipeline, leaving Finland reliant on liquefied natural gas imports for the winter. Natural gas accounts for approximately five percent of Finland's energy consumption, primarily used in industry and combined heat and power production.
This incident is reminiscent of underwater explosions that occurred last year, resulting in the rupture of three pipelines in the Baltic Sea. These pipelines are responsible for transporting natural gas from Russia to Western Europe.
The investigation into the suspected sabotage will continue, as Finnish authorities work to determine the extent of the damage and hold those responsible accountable. Cooperation with Chinese authorities will be crucial in uncovering the truth behind this incident.
As Finland faces the challenge of repairing the damaged pipeline and securing alternative energy sources for the winter, the country's energy security remains a priority. The incident highlights the vulnerability of critical energy infrastructure and the need for enhanced security measures to protect against potential threats.