Chinese ship suspected of sabotaging cables and pipelines in the Baltic Sea

Image of a submarine cable.

Image of a submarine cable. Credit: JesperG/

A Chinese ship has been identified as possibly being responsible for several cases of suspected sabotage on the bottom of the Baltic Sea.

Hanno Pevkur, the Estonian Minister of Defence revealed to this Thursday, November 23, that investigations have shown that the ‘New Polarbear’ had dragged its anchor along the seabed for hundreds of kilometres. ‘It is hard to believe that it was just an accident’, he suggested.

Several data cables and a gas pipeline were said to have been destroyed on the seabed in the space of a few hours, including a data cable that runs between Estonia and Sweden.

Finland and Estonia previously suspected the same vessel

Previously, the Chinese ship – which has connections to Russia – had been singled out by both Finnish and Estonian authorities. However, there has been no confirmation of how the suspected sabotage took place.

Pevkur revealed that traces from the ship’s anchor had been found on the sea floor in the area where the various destroyed lines and data cables were located.

‘All these incidents with a Finnish cable, a gas line and a Swedish data cable, they are all connected. They have been destroyed by human hands, probably by an anchor’, said the Defence Minister.

‘We have mapped and filmed the seabed and have a very good overview of what happened and now the question is whether this country and the company in China that owns the ship are prepared to cooperate’, Pevkur continued.

Was the damage deliberate?

When asked by the news outlet whether he believed the damage was intentional, the official replied: ‘We are still in the investigation phase but let’s be honest: if you have an anchor hanging loose for more than 100 nautical miles (185 km), then it is not very likely, it is hard to believe that it was just an accident’.

He added: ‘The captain understood that there was something wrong, so then the question we have to find out is whether it was on purpose’.

‘So you are saying that the anchor was dragged along the seabed over large parts of the Baltic Sea?’, he was asked. To which Pevkur responded: ‘That is what happened and that is also why we can say that these incidents are connected’.

Pål Jonson, the Swedish Minister of Defence confirmed the situation. ‘The submarine salvage vessel Belos has made dives and established that the events that took place are obviously coordinated, both in terms of time, and in terms of geography, and that these cables have been affected by external influences’.

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Written by

Chris King

Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at