SHARE
COPY LINK

NORD STREAM

Nord Stream inspects pipeline in Swedish zone and awaits Danish permission

A Russian-flagged ship on Thursday arrived at the damaged Nord Stream pipelines in the Baltic Sea to carry out an inspection on behalf of the owners, the company and Sweden's navy said.

Nord Stream inspects pipeline in Swedish zone and awaits Danish permission
One of the Nord Stream gas leaks in the Swedish zone, photographed in September. Photo: Swedish Coast Guard

Nord Stream AG, which is majority owned by Russia’s Gazprom, said the “specially equipped vessel” had arrived at the location of “the pipeline damage in the exclusive economic zone of Sweden”.

Four leaks emerged on the two Nord Stream pipelines in the Baltic Sea off the coast of the Danish island of Bornholm at the end of September with seismic institutes reporting that they had recorded two underwater explosions prior to the leaks appearing.

While the leaks were in international waters, two of them were in the Danish exclusive economic zone and two of them in the Swedish.

“After carrying out the calibration works, the specialists will be ready within 24 hours to start the survey of the damaged area that would take three to five days according to current estimates,” Nord Stream AG said in a statement.

Jimmie Adamsson, spokesman for Sweden’s navy, said that “the owners of Nord Stream 1 informed us several weeks ago that they wanted to have their own inspection of the damage to the pipeline”. 

Adamsson added that no permission was needed and that “in the Swedish exclusive economic zone anyone can do this type of inspection.”

On Wednesday, the Swedish navy announced it had begun new inspections of their own this week to complement an earlier inspection, but gave no details of what they were looking for.

Swedish authorities announced in early October that they had conducted an underwater inspection of the site and collected “pieces of evidence”, and that the inspection backed up suspicions of sabotage.

Nord Stream AG also said they were still awaiting a decision from Danish authorities to grant necessary permits for “the survey of the gas pipeline section in the Danish exclusive economic zone.” 

The pipelines, which connect Russia to Germany, have been at the centre of geopolitical tensions as Russia cut gas supplies to Europe in suspected retaliation to Western sanctions over Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

Although they were not in operation when the leaks occurred, they both still contained gas which spewed up through the water and into the atmosphere.

READ ALSO: Images released of Nord Stream leak sites as Danish police confirm explosions

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

NORD STREAM

Swedish prosecutor confirms Nord Stream pipeline sabotage

Swedish officials confirmed Friday that the September blasts which destroyed sections of the Nord Stream pipelines carrying gas from Russia to Germany under the Baltic Sea were acts of sabotage.

Swedish prosecutor confirms Nord Stream pipeline sabotage

“The analyses conducted found traces of explosives on several foreign objects” found at the sites of the blasts, prosecutor Mats Ljungqvist, who is leading the preliminary investigation, said in a statement.

Ljungqvist added that technical analyses were continuing in order to “draw more reliable conclusions regarding the incident.”

Sweden’s Prosecution Authority said that the “continued investigation will show if anyone can be formally suspected of a crime.”

The four underwater explosions at the Nord Stream gas pipelines carrying natural gas from Russia to Germany under the Baltic Sea in September this year were caused by a force corresponding to hundreds of kilograms of explosives, a Danish-Swedish report has previously concluded.

The Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines have been at the centre of geopolitical tensions as Russia cut gas supplies to Europe in suspected retaliation against Western sanctions following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

Four large gas leaks were discovered on Nord Stream’s two pipelines off the Danish island of Bornholm at the end of September, with seismic institutes recording two underwater explosions just prior.

Investigators had already said preliminary inspections had reinforced suspicions of sabotage.

Russia and Western countries, particularly the United States, have traded bitter barbs over who is responsible for the blasts.

“The analyses conducted found traces of explosives on several foreign objects” at the sites of the blasts, prosecutor Mats Ljungqvist, who is leading the preliminary investigation, said in a statement on Friday.

Ljungqvist added technical analyses were continuing in order to “draw more reliable conclusions regarding the incident”.

Sweden’s prosecution authority said the “continued investigation will show if anyone can be formally suspected of a crime”.

The Swedish Security Service (SÄPO) — which is conducting the investigation under the prosecutors’ leadership — confirmed the findings in a separate statement but both authorities declined to comment further.

The closely watched investigation has also been supported by Sweden’s coast guard, the Swedish armed forces and the police.

Trading blame

While the leaks were in international waters, two of them were in the Danish exclusive economic zone and two in Sweden’s.

At the end of October, Nord Stream sent a Russian-flagged civilian vessel to inspect the damage in the Swedish zone.

The same week the prosecution authority announced it was conducting a second probe of the damage to complement the first done in early October.

In early November, the operator said roughly 250 metres (820 feet) of the Nord Stream 1 pipeline had been destroyed and that craters with a depth of three to five metres had been found on the seabed.

Although the pipelines were not in operation when the leaks occurred, they both still contained gas which spewed up through the water and into the atmosphere.

Moscow has accused Western countries of being behind the explosions of the pipelines, but has not provided any firm proof.

In early November, the Kremlin accused Britain of “directing and coordinating” the explosions.

The accusation was rejected as “distractions which are part of the Russian playbook” by a spokesman for British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. Ukraine and some Western countries have meanwhile pointed the finger at Russia.

In mid-October, Russia said it was ready to resume deliveries of gas through the parts of the pipeline not affected by the leaks, with President Vladimir Putin saying “the ball was in the EU’s court”.

SHOW COMMENTS