Nord Stream Pipeline Blast Inquiry Turns Into a Sabotage Investigation

nord stream
Three of four pipelines in the Nord Stream 1 and 2 systems were damaged Monday, resulting in massive gas leaks in the Baltic (Danish Defence Command)

Published Sep 27, 2022 9:31 PM by The Maritime Executive

The inquiry into the damage to the Nord Stream 1 and 2 subsea gas pipelines has transitioned into a sabotage investigation, according to leaders in Denmark and Sweden. 

Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen confirmed Tuesday that her nation's authorities believe that the ruptures in three subsea pipelines off the Baltic island of Bornholm are "deliberate actions" and "not an accident." Sweden's Prime Minister, Magdalena Andersson, confirmed to reporters that "this is likely a deliberate act, that is, it is likely an act of sabotage.” 

The proximate cause of the damage appears to be a sequence of explosions, according to academic seismologists who recorded vibrations corresponding to two separate blasts. "There is no doubt that these were explosions," Dr. Bjorn Lund of Sweden's National Seismology Centre told local media. 

Both Nord Stream 1 and 2 had already been shut down, the former by Russia (for claimed maintenance issues) and the latter by Germany (as a penalty on Russia for the invasion of Ukraine). 

As recently as last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin called on German leaders to reverse course and allow Nord Stream 2 to enter service. If they did, Putin suggested, Germany would receive the Russian gas it had contracted to receive through other pipelines.

"The bottom line is, if you have an urge, if it's so hard for you, just lift the sanctions on Nord Stream 2, which is 55 billion cubic meters of gas per year, just push the button and everything will get going," said Putin on Friday. 

Northern Europe appears to be headed in a different direction. The apparent attack on Nord Stream 1 and 2 occurred just before the inauguration ceremony for a brand new pipeline to deliver Norwegian gas to Poland via Denmark. Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen attended the ceremony in Budno, Poland, and she suggested that the new Norwegian supply “marks a crucial geopolitical step for all of us.”

“We have to do all we can to remove energy as a Russian instrument of power,” Frederiksen said.