Britain To Acquire Two Specialist Ships To Protect Underwater Infrastructure

Ariel view of the Nord Stream gas leak seen from a Danish defence aircraft at mid-sea in Denmark September 30, 2022. Danish Defence Command/Handout via REUTERS

Britain To Acquire Two Specialist Ships To Protect Underwater Infrastructure

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October 2, 2022

BIRMINGHAM, England, Oct 2 (Reuters) – Britain will acquire two specialist ships to protect underwater infrastructure such as cables and pipelines, defense minister Ben Wallace said on Sunday, following leaks in the Nord Stream gas pipelines from Russia to Europe.

European countries say the Nord Stream pipelines were damaged by “sabotage” but have stopped short of blaming Moscow. Russian President Vladimir Putin has blamed Western countries. 

Speaking at the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham, central England, Wallacespoke about “mysterious damage” inflicted to the pipelines but made clear that he saw the threat to Britain’s infrastructure as coming from Russia. 

“It should remind us all how fragile our economy and infrastructure is to such to such hybrid attacks … Our internet and our energy are highly reliant on pipelines and cables. Russia makes no secret of its ability to target such infrastructure,” Wallace said.

“So for that reason I can announce we have recently committed to two specialist ships with the capability to keep our cables and pipelines safe.” 

Wallace said the first “multi-role survey ship for seabed warfare” would be bought this year and would be operational by the end of next year, while the second ship would be built in the United Kingdom.

(Reporting by Alistair Smout, editing by Elizabeth Piper and Nick Macfie)

(c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2022.

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