WASHINGTON – Today, Senator Schmitt released the following statement regarding damage to a Baltic Sea gas pipeline, potentially caused by Chinese shipping vessel “NewNew Polar Bear” dragging its anchor and destroying critical civilian infrastructure:
“Reports indicate that a Chinese shipping vessel dragged anchor, potentially for miles, causing severe damage to a Baltic Sea gas pipeline and two telecommunications cables. While the investigation by Finnish authorities is still ongoing, it’s hard to believe that this wasn’t an act of sabotage by China, especially considering the energy situation in Europe. We need answers, and if it was in fact a deliberate act of sabotage, China needs to be held accountable.”
- According to reporting by Reuters, the Balticconnector subsea gas pipeline and two Baltic Sea telecommunications cables were damaged by an anchor dragging along the seabed on October 8th.
- The Chinese cargo vessel called “NewNew Polar Bear” is the suspected culprit of the damage. Finnish authorities are investigating whether this was an accident or a deliberate act of sabotage.
- Reuters reports, “Broad drag marks were seen on the seabed leading up to where the pipeline was broken, and the anchor was lying immediately after the damage spot. A narrower path was seen on the seabed stretching onwards for dozens of miles, police said.”
- Further, “The NBI on Tuesday said they had established that the NewNew Polar Bear was in fact missing one of its front anchors, and said they had tried unsuccessfully to contact the ship to ask whether this was the one retrieved in the Gulf of Finland.”
- The incident reportedly cut pipeline gas supplies to Finland, and the country expects to manage with imports of liquefied natural gas.