National Bureau of Investigation has clarified technically the cause of gas pipeline damage

Publication date 24.10.2023 17.46
News item

The sequence of events has been established on the basis of evidence and data, and the vessel Newnew Polar Bear, flying the flag of Hong Kong, is believed to have caused the damage.

The National Bureau of Investigation stated at the press conference today that it has made progress in the investigation of the gas pipeline damage. According to the National Bureau of Investigation, it has been clarified technically how the gas pipeline damage has been caused.

General Head of Investigation Detective Superintendent Risto Lohi described that on the seabed, a 1.5 to 4 metre-wide dragging trail is seen to lead to the point of damage in the gas pipeline.

In the distance of a few metres from the gas pipeline damage point, there was an anchor which is believed to have caused the wide dragging trail and the damage itself.

– Early this morning the anchor was lifted up. There are traces in it which indicate that it has been in contact with the gas pipeline, Lohi says. 

From the finding point of the anchor onward, a narrow dragging trace is to be seen and it matches size-wise with the part connecting the anchor to the chain. 

These observations in connection with data analysed on the traffic of the vessels have corroborated the main line of investigation concerning the role of the vessel Newnew Polar Bear of a Chinese shipping company and flying the flag of Hong Kong in the incident.

– Besides we could not visually confirm that both front anchors of the vessel were in their place, which helped in focusing the suspicions on this particular ship, Lohi says.  

International cooperation underway

At the press conference Lohi stated that Newnew Polar Bear was contacted several times, but they were not willing to cooperate.

– The police had no competence to take any coercive measures against the vessel, since it sailed in the exclusive economic zone of Finland, which is out of the police competence in this respect, Lohi says.

– We were constantly on alert to act, if the vessel had entered the Finnish territorial waters.

For reaching the vessel, international cooperation has been carried out — at present with the Chinese authorities in order to continue the investigations into the vessel as well.

– A lot of things can still be done, Lohi says. 

Particular attention will be paid to investigating if there has been any premeditation or negligence involved in the sequence of events.

Within international legal assistance the time-span needed for taking actions is in any case several weeks, Lohi added.

In his opening statement of the press conference, Director of National Bureau of Investigation Robin Lardot thanked particularly the Border Guard and the Finnish Navy, attending the event, for their assistance in the investigation. The performance capacity of these cooperating authorities is outstanding, Lardot added.

Ankkuri (picture: NBI)

Putkivaurio edestä (picture: the Finnish Border Guard)

Putkivaurio sivulta (picture: the Finnish Border Guard)

Raahausjälki kapea (picture: the Finnish Border Guard)

Raahausjälki leveä (picture: the Finnish Border Guard)


The pictures are only for the use of media registered with the police media service.

News Offences and criminal investigation The National Bureau of Investigation