Finland Accuses China of Intentionally Damaging Baltic Pipeline

( – Finnish authorities are intensifying their investigation into the suspected sabotage of the Baltic connector pipeline, which was disrupted on October 8, leading to a shutdown. The Finnish National Bureau of Investigation has shifted its focus to the Newnew Polar Bear, a Chinese owned cargo ship that first set sail in 2023, having been known as the Baltic Fulmar between 2017 and 2022. The vessel’s movements coincided with the time and location of the gas pipeline damage, prompting authorities to cooperate with Chinese officials to figure out its role in the incident.

The police confirmed that the damage was caused by an external mechanical force and identified a heavy object near the damaged pipeline on the seabed. A significant clump of soil, likely containing an extremely heavy object, has been discovered deep in the clay seabed. Efforts are underway to lift the object for further investigation to determine its potential connection to the damaged pipeline.

The investigation is also scrutinizing another vessel, the Russian ship Sevmorput, which was reportedly in the vicinity during the incident. Crime scene investigations have been completed, and samples are currently undergoing analysis in the bureau’s forensic library.

Repairing the pipeline is anticipated to take a minimum of 5 months, leaving Finland reliant on natural gas imports throughout the winter. Natural gas constitutes approximately 5% of Finland’s energy consumption, primarily employed in industrial and combined heat and power production.

This incident follows a pattern of underwater explosions last year, resulting in the rupture of 3 pipelines in the Baltic Sea responsible for transporting natural gas from Russia to western Europe. The explosions from last year were theorized to be done by Russia, although some conspiracies allege that it was the US who did it, albeit for unknown reasons. The heightened focus on critical infrastructure security raises concerns about potential threats and the need for preventive measures.

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