Baltic Telecoms Cable Severed As Chinese Ship Dragged Anchor Over Seabed, Says Russian Firm

A Russian fibre optic cable underneath the Baltic Sea was severed in October when a container vessel from China sailed over it, per Rostelecom on Tuesday.

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Finnish investigators have said that they suspect the vessel, the New New Polar Bear, of resulting in serious impairments to the Balticconnector gas pipeline by dragging the anchor over the seabed while on the voyage.

Two other Baltic telecom cables were also impaired on the night of 7 October along the channel where the vessel was sailing, per shipping data analyzed by Reuters.

The incidents have further highlighted the vulnerability of marine cables and pipelines when security fears are running way high owing to the Ukraine war. 

Investigators are yet to find out who was responsible for blowing up the Russian Nord Stream gas pipelines under the Baltic in 2022.

A spokesperson associated with Rostelecom, responding to some emailed queries from Reuters, said that the double armoured fibre optic cable, with a thickness of about 40.4 mm, had been entirely cut.

Asked if the firm believed that the Chinese vessel had caused the impairment, the spokesperson mentioned that at the time of the impairment to the fibre optic cable, the Chinese vessel, dubbed the NewNew Polar Bear, was at a point with its coordinates coinciding with the channel of the communication line.

China has said it is ready to share necessary information regarding the incident following international law. NewNew Shipping, the operator and owner of the NewNew Polar Bear, declined to comment when contacted by Reuters.

In a statement published on Tuesday, Rostelecom acknowledged the impairment to its cable for the first time, referring to it as an accident without stating the actual cause.

Reference: Reuters


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