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UK to order special ships for guarding subsea infrastructure

Ruptured gas pipelines Nord Steam 1 and 2 show that underwater infrastructure is vulnerable to attack, says British minister.

Photo: PAUL ELLIS/AFP / AFP

The UK means to acquire two specialist vessels to protect subsea infrastructure, power cables and fuel pipelines for instance, said British Defense Minister Ben Wallace at Sunday’s Tory party congress held in Birmingham, England.

Wallace’s statement responds to natural gas leaking from the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines due to suspected sabotage.

Wallace says the pipelines were subject to ”mysterious damage,” however making it quite clear that he thinks the incident is Russia’s doing.

”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,” Wallance said:

”Russia makes no secret of its ability to target such infrastructure. 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.”

The first ship will be purchased this year, with commencement of operations set for early 2023, while the second vessel, the launch timing of which is yet unclear, must first be built in the UK.

Earlier Sunday, the Danish Energy Agency announced that leaking gas from the Nord Stream 2 appears to have stopped. This followed reports on Saturday that the leaks from Nord Stream 2 had fully ceased.

Four ruptures on the Baltic Sea pipelines were noted earlier last week.

Cause has yet to ascertained, but seismic disturbances were registered prior to the leaks being uncovered, and Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen has also named sabotage as the culprit.

Denmark, Sweden and Germany are carrying out a joint investigation of the incident.

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