Finland retrieves anchor from seabed near broken gas pipeline

HELSINKI (Reuters) – Finnish police said on Tuesday they had retrieved a large anchor from the seabed near the location where a Baltic Sea gas pipeline ruptured earlier this month, and were investigating whether it belonged to a Chinese container vessel.

Police have previously said damage to the Balticconnector subsea gas pipeline and two Baltic Sea telecoms cables was cause by external mechanical force and were investigating whether this was a deliberate sabotage or caused by accident.

Finland’s National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) on Friday said they were focusing their probe on the Chinese NewNew Polar Bear container vessel which had travelled above the pipeline and the cables at the time of the damage.

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.

(Reporting by Essi Lehto, editing by Terje Solsvik)