Chinese Container Ship Suspected of Deliberately Damaging Estonia-Finland Gas Pipeline


Finnish investigators are accusing a Chinese ship of disabling an undersea gas pipeline between Finland and Estonia and damaging two undersea telecommunications cables on October 8. The Balticconnector pipeline is a 94-mile-long pipeline that connects Finland's national gas grid with a major underground gas storage facility in Latvia.



Pipeline engineers noticed an unexplained drop in pipeline pressure, causing the operators to shut down the pipeline. Investigators quickly determined that explosions did not damage the pipeline and undersea cables but were damaged by human action. The damage to one telecommunications line was discovered at the time of the damage to the gas line. A second telecommunications cable was later found to be damaged.

“The damage to the underwater infrastructure has been taken seriously and its causes have been investigated since Sunday,” he said in a statement.

Finland Prime Minister Petteri Orpo said the pipeline damage couldn’t have occurred as a result of normal use or pressure fluctuations, according to Finnish public broadcaster Yle.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said the alliance was sharing information and stands ready to support concerned member states.

Suspicion logically fell on the Russians. Russia cut off supplies of natural gas to Finland in May 2022.

Russia halted gas exports to neighboring Finland on Saturday, a highly symbolic move that came just days after the Nordic country announced it wanted to join NATO and marked a likely end to Finland's nearly 50 years of importing natural gas from Russia.

The measure taken by the Russian energy giant Gazprom was in line with an earlier announcement following Helsinki's refusal to pay for the gas in rubles as Russian President Vladimir Putin has demanded European countries do since Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24.


And as the damage occurred days after the anniversary of the destruction of the Nord Stream pipelines (Photos Place Russian Submarine Rescue Vehicle and Mini Sub Near Nord Stream Explosion; Sy Hersh Hardest Hit—no, I really don't believe the US or Ukraine blew up the Nord Stream pipelines), there was some speculation of a symbolic connection.

Now, the investigation has taken a decidedly mysterious turn.

Finland said that a Chinese ship’s anchor had likely caused a mysterious rupture of an undersea gas pipeline in the Baltic Sea earlier this month that raised concerns about the vulnerability of European infrastructure to sabotage amid mounting tension between Russia and the West. 


On Tuesday, Finland’s National Bureau of Investigation said that investigators had recovered a large anchor which had been dragged along the seabed. The anchor carried traces indicating that it had been in contact with the Balticconnector pipeline.

Police said it believes that the damage was caused by Newnew Polar Bear, a containership sailing under the Hong Kong flag and owned by a Chinese shipping company, which was in the area at the time of that incident. 


The ship, the Newnew Polar Bear, is a container ship purpose-built for operating in waters with heavy ice. This was the first roundtrip of the ship from Russia to China and return.

Chinese shipping company NewNew Shipping Line has completed the first round-trip voyage of the inaugural regular liner service connecting China to western Russia via the Arctic.

The company’s NewNew Polar Bear (新新北极熊), capable of carrying up to 1,638 standard containers (TEU) arrived at its final destination, St. Petersburg, today after a six week return trip originating in Shanghai in August.

The vessel conducted intermediary stops in Arkhangelsk, along the Northern Sea Route (NSR), in September and in Baltiysk, in the Baltic Sea, over the weekend.

The ship had left St. Petersburg for the eastbound leg in July and arrived in Shanghai on August 4th, as reported by HNN. The initiation of the service in July was accompanied by a launch ceremony in Moscow attended by trade and Arctic officials.

Adding to the suspicion, the ship turned off its Automatic Identification System (AIS) the night of the damage to the Balticconnector, and now the ship's captain refuses to answer questions. And China is demanding to be made a party to the investigation.


So far, it looks like a Chinese-flagged ship heading to a Russian port turned off its identifying signal and dragged its anchor to snag the Balticconnector and two telecommunications cables. I'm sure there is nothing to see here.


Join the conversation as a VIP Member

Trending on RedState Videos