It is unlikely that a ship's anchor which likely damaged a gas pipeline and telecoms cable between Finland and Estonia fell to the seafloor by accident, a maritime expert believes. TSO Elering is hoping the damage will be covered by insurance.
An anchor likely belonging to the Hong Kong-flagged Newnew Polar Bear's was found by the Finnish authorities next to the Balticconnector gas pipeline on Tuesday. The Torgmoll Group-owned vessel is now the focus of investigations.
"Aktuaalne kaamera" called the company, which operates in Russia and China, to ask what happened to the ship's anchor.
"No comments, goodbye," the company said.
Although all the circumstances are not yet known, Rein Raudsalu, a senior lecturer at the Estonian Maritime Academy, a maritime expert, and a former long-distance sailing captain, said it is unlikely a technical fault caused the anchor to fall to the seabed.
"If, due to a technical error, such a thing could happen, it would be very unusual, because decent sailors do not drop anchor without wanting to," said Raudsalu.
Underwater images show the anchor was dragged for several kilometers. Raudsalu said this is not likely to have been accidental as it can be felt when an anchor is dragging.
"It can definitely be felt. An anchor dropping to a depth of 70 meters creates a vibration in the ship that can definitely be felt. And then, as it drags along the bottom, the speed should drop immediately, because of course you can drag an anchor along the bottom at that depth, but you have to feel it," said Raudsalu.
Estonian and Finnish authorities are investigating the case and they hope China will cooperate.
Ain Köster, Elering's communications manager, said the pipeline is jointly insured with a value of €50 million. An official claim has not yet been lodged.
"We would like to wait, or rather we have to wait, for the results of the investigation in Finland /.../ Of course we hope that this is an insurance case and we will get the money to repair this pipe. But, as always with insurance, there are some exclusions, and so there are with us. As far as I know, one of the exclusions is terrorism, for example, war and things like that. But that's why it's important that we have to find out what kind of incident it actually is," Köster told AK.
Editor: Merili Nael, Helen Wright
Source: Aktuaalne kaamera