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Swedish-Estonian telecommunications cable damaged by ‘external force or tampering'

Finnish Navy divers examine damage and objects around the Balticconnector gas pipeline in the Gulf of Finland. (Finnish Navy)

An undersea telecommunications cable between Sweden and Estonia has been damaged by means of external force or tampering, the Swedish government has confirmed.

The incident has been linked to the suspected sabotage of the Balticconnector undersea gas pipeline and telecommunications cable that connects Finland and Estonia in early October.

In a 23 October announcement the Swedish government said the damage, which was discovered the previous week and occurred within the Estonian economic zone, had not affected the functioning of the cable.

“We are co-operating closely with our Estonian and Finnish partners,” said Swedish Minister for Civil Defence Carl-Oskar Bohlin. “Estonia has reported that traces of physical impacts have been found. They have also assessed that the damage to the gas pipeline and communications cable between Finland and Estonia is related to the damage to the communications cable between Sweden and Estonia.”

On 19 October the Finnish Police's National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) said it had completed its crime scene investigation into the gas pipeline damage that occurred in Finland's exclusive economic zone during a storm on 8 October and that an analysis of the collected samples was under way. NBI's General Head of Investigation, Detective Superintendent Risto Lohi, said the investigation had confirmed that the damage was caused by an external mechanical force and that “there is no reason to believe the damage has been caused by an explosion”.

Finnish police are now focused on the role of the Chinese container ship Newnew Polar Bear,

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