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HomeEnergyNBI: Cause of Pipeline Damage Was Likely Mechanical, Not an Explosion

NBI: Cause of Pipeline Damage Was Likely Mechanical, Not an Explosion

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Finnish officials on Wednesday said it was not likely the damage to a pipeline between Finland and Estonia was caused by an explosion, but noted the line had been physically damaged.

The National Bureau of Investigation’s (NBI) probe into the suspected sabotage has been challenging, according to the agency’s director, Robin Lardot.

He made the comment at a joint press conference on Wednesday evening, alongside other authorities, including members of the Border Guard and the National Emergency Supply Agency.

In communications about the incident, the Finnish government has refrained from directly calling what caused it as sabotage. On the other hand, there has been a good deal of speculation in the media about Russia’s possible role.

Reporters asked about the possibility of Russian involvement in the incident, but the Finnish authorities continued to be tight-lipped.

The NBI’s chief inspector, Risto Lohi, said investigators are not making speculations in the case, but rather working to find answers.

“At the moment we are determining what happened and [who] may have been involved. Considering the situation we will not speculate, but work to find facts, analyse them and then draw conclusions about what caused the damage,” Lohi said.

Not likely an explosion

“The damage appears to have been caused by a mechanical force, not an explosion, ” he said, noting that investigators have not entirely ruled out the possibility of an explosion.

“At the moment we do not think it is likely, but we are analysing the collected evidence,” Lohi said.

Finnish President Sauli Niinistö confirmed on Tuesday that an investigation into the damaged infrastructure began on Sunday.

According to Border Guard chief Mikko Simola, work to investigate the damaged gas line and surrounding areas will continue.

Simola said that he did not want to reveal exactly what divers found on the seabed, but reiterated his past remarks that it was clear that an external impact had caused the damage.

In response to a question about a Russian tanker that was reportedly in the area at the time the infrastructure was damaged, Simola said the Border Guard does not comment on individual vessels.

“But the Border Guard is engaged in careful surveillance work in our sea areas on a daily basis, around-the-clock and year-round,” he said.

“We expect that the underwater investigations will take at least a couple of days,” Simola said, noting the windy weather on the Gulf of Finland has made the work demanding.

According to Finnish gas network firm Gasgrid and its Estonian counterpart Elering, it will take at least five months to repair the pipeline.

The companies said that inspection of the line will continue this week and then a repair schedule will be established. According to current estimates, use of the pipeline could resume in April of next year, at the earliest.

Source: Yle

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