By John Ensor •
Published: 26 Oct 2023 • 14:54
Inspection and repair of Balticconnector.
THE gas pipeline between Finland and Estonia was damaged earlier this month leading to much speculation and finger-pointing. However, the answers may not be as sinister as first believed.
The Balticconnector gas pipeline, a crucial underwater link connecting Finland and Estonia, suffered substantial damage. This unexpected event not only halted gas flow to Finland but also created a stir in the energy industry and had international political ramifications, writes BNN.
The incident follows the events of September 2022, when the two Russian Nord Stream pipelines were allegedly subject to sabotage and rendered unusable.
Investigators have since salvaged a hefty six-tonne anchor near the site of the pipeline breach. Reportedly there is a noticeable path on the ocean floor leading to the damaged spot, which appears to indicate that the anchor was dragged across.
Current suspicions point to a specific Chinese cargo ship, the Hong Kong-registered Newnew Polar Bear. Images of this ship reveal an absent anchor, also its route around the Baltic Sea along with the timing of the incident all line up.
However, the answer to the mystery is still far from being resolved. The investigation now centres on whether the resulting damage was intentional, unintentional, or just plain bad seamanship.
The ramifications of this incident are vast, stretching beyond just the immediate gas supply disruption. NATO’s presence in the Baltic Sea has intensified, especially since the area is already spotlighted due to potential security risks. This pipeline incident is eerily reminiscent of a past event in September 2022, where a calculated act led to explosions in the Nord Stream pipeline.
China have stated they are in favour of a ‘objective, fair, and professional’ inquiry in to the incident. The nation’s foreign ministry highlighted that the Newnew Polar Bear was on a regular course during the episode and has shown a readiness to partake by offering all the relevant details.
This particular incident highlights the susceptibility of energy supplies in high-risk zones. In an era where reliance on far-reaching energy channels is escalating, such occurrences raise pressing concerns about the integrity and safeguarding of global energy routes.
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Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina.
He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.
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