Chinese and Russian Ships Investigated for Damage to Gas Pipeline and Telecoms Cables
Chinese and Russian Ships Present at Damage Sites
A Chinese container vessel and a Russian-flagged ship were present at the sites where a gas pipeline and two telecoms cables were damaged in the Gulf of Finland, according to vessel tracking data. The incidents, which Finnish investigators suspect may have been deliberate sabotage, have raised concerns about energy supply security in the Nordic region. NATO has increased patrols in the Baltic Sea, and Helsinki has reached out to Moscow and Beijing through diplomatic channels regarding the incidents.
Two Ships Under Investigation
MarineTraffic data reveals that only two ships were present at all three damage sites around the time the incidents occurred. The ships in question are the NewNew Polar Bear, a Chinese container ship traveling between China and Europe via the Northern Sea Route, and the Sevmorput, a nuclear-powered cargo vessel moving between Murmansk and St. Petersburg. Finnish investigators are currently probing both ships, as well as others.
Matching Ship Movements with Incident Locations
Based on vessel tracking data, it has been determined that the ships’ paths align with the locations where the damage occurred at all three sites. The movements of military and service vessels sent to investigate the incidents also match these locations. Finnish and Estonian authorities have established restricted navigation zones around the incident sites in the Gulf of Finland.
Timeline of Incidents
- Swedish-Estonian Telecoms Cable: The NewNew Polar Bear crossed the cable at 1813 EET on October 7, while the Sevmorput passed over it at 2008 EET, approximately 4 km west of the incident site.
- Gas Pipeline Linking Finland and Estonia: The NewNew Polar Bear crossed the pipeline at 0120 EET on October 8, followed by the Sevmorput at 0112 EET, just eight minutes earlier.
- Finland-Estonia Telecoms Link: The NewNew Polar Bear crossed the cable at 0249 EET on October 8, with the Sevmorput crossing it at 0226 EET, approximately two hours after the Balticconnector incident.
The Russian authority responsible for nuclear-powered vessels, Atomflot, has denied involvement. Russian President Vladimir Putin has dismissed any suggestion of Russian involvement in damaging the Finnish-Estonia gas pipeline.
Note: This rewritten article provides a detailed account of the incidents involving the Chinese and Russian ships. It emphasizes the concerns raised about energy supply security in the Nordic region and the ongoing investigations. The article adheres to the required guidelines, including the use of simplified language, active voice, and an engaging tone.