Investigation Shifts Focus to Hong Kong Vessel in Baltic Connector Pipeline Damage Probe
Posted 23/10/2023 11:27
As authorities intensify their investigation into the damage incurred by the gas pipeline between Finland and Estonia, Finland's police have revealed their growing suspicions about the potential involvement of a Hong Kong-flagged vessel. The Finnish National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has concluded its initial scene examination, asserting that the destruction resulted from an external mechanical force rather than an explosion, contradicting earlier reports from an independent Norwegian research group, Norsar, that hinted at a probable explosion near the pipeline.
Detective Superintendent Risto Lohi, leading the investigative team, emphasized that the movements of the Newnew Polar Bear, the Hong Kong-flagged vessel, corresponded with the time and location of the gas pipeline damage, thereby prompting a focused inquiry into the vessel's potential role.
Notably, Norsar's seismic beam signals detected a minor event with a local magnitude of 1.0, significantly lower than the Nord Stream explosion in September 2022. Despite these findings, the investigation has uncovered a substantial clump of soil containing a potentially weighty object, raising suspicions about its possible connection to the pipeline's impairment.
Russian President Vladimir Putin distanced Russia from the incident, dismissing any notion of involvement and citing the comparatively limited volume of the pipeline. He offered several hypothetical explanations, including the impact of a hook or an anchor, underscoring the need for a thorough investigation by the authorities.
While the NBI confirmed the completion of the initial scene examination and the collection of relevant samples for forensic analysis, ongoing scrutiny in the vicinity of the damage site remains a priority, reflecting the commitment to uncover the complete circumstances surrounding the pipeline's disruption.