by Stine Jacobsen (Reuters) A section measuring at least 50 meters (164 feet) is missing from the ruptured Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline in the Baltic Sea, Swedish daily Expressen reported on Tuesday after filming what it said were the first publicly released images of the damage.
Swedish police and prosecutors suspect the leaks that emerged on Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 on Sept. 26 were caused by deliberate subsea blasts, and are investigating the case as an act of gross sabotage.
Expressen’s video, captured with a small remotely operated underwater vehicle, or subsea drone, showed bent metal and a wide-open pipeline in murky waters at the bottom of the Baltic Sea.
Parts of the pipeline appeared to have straight, sharp edges while others were deformed, showed the footage recorded at a depth of roughly 80 meters (262 feet).
The video was filmed on Monday, Expressen said. Reuters could not independently verify that the images published by the newspaper were of Nord Stream 1.
Sweden’s security services said this month they had seized material on site after concluding their investigation.
It was not clear how the Swedish authorities’ crime scene investigation could have altered the area, according to Expressen.
The Swedish navy and the security police declined to comment. The country’s coast guard was not immediately available for comment.
Also Read: Sweden Sends Ship to Inspect Nord Stream Pipelines
Copenhagen police, investigating separate ruptures to the two pipelines, on Tuesday said the holes identified on the Danish side of the Baltic Sea maritime border appeared to have been caused by “powerful explosions.”
Pipeline Inspections Continue
Danish power and gas grid operator Energinet has expedited inspections of its own pipelines in the wake of damage to Nord Stream 1 and 2 which run through the country’s waters, but has so far found no irregularities, it said on Tuesday.
The inspections come as nations around Europe look to bolster security around critical energy infrastructure after the suspected Nord Stream sabotage shone a spotlight on the vulnerability of the region’s subsea cables and pipelines.
“Energinet has advanced routine inspections of Danish pipelines,” head of gas transmission Peter Hodahl said in a written comment to Reuters.
The transmission system operator is also constantly monitoring pressure in the pipes to detect any errors, he added.
The review of all Danish pipelines, which is carried out by specialist vessels, is expected to be completed this week with results known by the start of November.
“We have not observed anything abnormal at this stage,” said a spokesperson.
Norway, Europe’s largest gas supplier, and Belgium have carried out similar inspections.
(Reporting by Stine Jacobsen, editing by Kirsten Donovan, Terje Solsvik and Ed Osmond, Reuters)
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