Nord Stream investigation finds explosive traces on suspiciously chartered yacht
Germany has found traces of subsea explosives in samples taken from a yacht that may have been used to transport the explosives that damaged the Nord Stream gas pipelines in the Baltic Sea, a letter sent to the UN Security Council states.
Four gas leaks were found on the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines in September 2022, two in Sweden’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and two in the Danish territory. After the Norwegian and Swedish seismic institutes had confirmed that underwater blasts preceded the leaks, European authorities said that the incident could be the result of “deliberate actions”.
In a letter sent to the UN Security Council together with Sweden and Denmark, Germany said its Nord Stream inquiry had found subsea explosive traces in samples taken from a sailing yacht, which was chartered in the name of a person who used documents provided in order to hide the identity of the real charterer.
Investigations are currently being carried out into whether this person was subsequently on board and to figure out the precise course of the yacht.
“It is suspected that the boat in question may have been used to transport the explosives that exploded at the Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 pipelines in the Baltic Sea on 26 September 2022. Traces of subsea explosives were found in the samples taken from the boat during the investigation,” the letter states.
Expert assessments have shown that it is possible that trained drivers attached explosives at the points where the damage occurred to the pipelines laid at a depth of circa 70 to 80 meters.
“At this point it is not possible to reliably establish the identity of the perpetrators and their motives, particularly regarding the question of whether the incident was steered by a state or state actor. All information to clarify the matter will be pursued during the continuing investigations,” the letter writes.
In line with this, Sweden’s analyses have revealed explosive residue on several of the foreign objects that were found in the area in the Baltic Sea.
Germany, Sweden and Denmark are each conducting respective national investigations into the Nord Stream incident. Neither has been concluded and it is still not possible to say when they will be concluded as “the nature of the acts of sabotage is unprecedented and the investigations are complex”.
The letter also notes that there are no obstacles to visiting the sites of the pipeline explosions and all vessels enjoy the freedom of navigation in the EEZs of Denmark and Sweden.
To remind, on 23 March, Danes reported that a cylindrical object about 40 cm tall and 10 cm in diameter was found near the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. Subsequent investigations indicated that the object is an empty maritime smoke buoy used for visual marking and does not pose a safety risk.
The twin Nord Stream pipeline system runs from Vyborg, Russia, to Lubmin near Greifswald, Germany, and crosses the EEZs of Russia, Finland, Sweden, Denmark and Germany, as well as the territorial waters of Russia, Denmark, and Germany.
According to a report from the Integrated Carbon Observation System (ICOS), an enormous amount of methane gas was released into the atmosphere due to damage to the pipelines.
To read more about the Nord Stream incident click HERE.