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Expert: Dragging an anchor is rare, but nothing can be ruled out

Tanker and ships at sea off the coast of Tallinn.
Tanker and ships at sea off the coast of Tallinn. Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

Ships dropping anchor around pipeline infrastructure are rare and prohibited, but no theory can yet be ruled out in the Balticconnector investigation, said Are Piel, head of Vessel Traffic Management Department at the Transport Administration.

Several ships were in the area of Balticconnector in the Gulf of Finland before a sudden drop in pressure was detected on Sunday morning (October 8).

Vessels can drop anchor half a mile from underwater infrastructure to avoid causing damage. 

Among several others, the Russian cargo ship SVG Flot was near the broken part of the pipeline over the weekend.

A representative of the ship's owner told Finnish media it was in the area between Friday evening and Sunday evening due to bad weather.

"In general, in the maritime sector, anchor dragging is a very rare occurrence. Either the ship has broken down or something has been broken in a storm. But nothing can be ruled out in the current situation," Piel told Wednesday's "Aktuaalne kaamera". "There were four ships crossing in the time period we were given. At first glance, it seemed like normal traffic, but I can't comment any further at this time."

Seismic waves, which could indicate a possible explosion, were also registered by three seismological stations in Finland.

The seismic event was below the detection threshold of Estonia's seismological stations, said seismologist Heidi Soosalu.

it is not known exactly what the cause was. But both Estonia's national transmission system operator Elering and the Norwegian seismological center NORSAR said a ship's anchor could have caused it.

"I estimated the magnitude of the current event at 0.5. It's not surprising that it was below the detection threshold – we have a detection threshold of about magnitude one," said Soosalu. "The event in question is similar to a minor explosion in Estonian limestone quarries."

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Editor: Barbara Oja, Helen Wright

Source: Aktuaalne kaamera

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