Northern European states sign deal to protect North Sea infrastructure

Move comes after 2022 explosions damaged Nord Stream gas pipelines in Baltic Sea

11:38 - 10/04/2024 Çarşamba
File photo
File photo

Six northern European countries, bordering the North Sea, on Tuesday signed an agreement to work together to protect underwater infrastructure in the northern part of the Atlantic Ocean from an increased risk of sabotage.

The cooperation will enable Denmark, Norway, Germany, Belgium, Britain, and the Netherlands to share information and knowledge, the Danish Climate, Energy and Utilities Ministry said in a statement.

“Additionally, the cooperation relies on the relevant work tracks within the EU and NATO,” it said.

The ministry called the North Sea an important source of renewable energy and a center for critical infrastructure that links Europe through electricity cables, gas pipes and telecommunications connections.

“The North Sea has the potential to become the cradle of a renewable and secure energy supply in Europe, while supporting the road to a fossil-free future,” said Denmark's Climate, Energy and Utilities Minister Lars Aagaard.

“An increasing mutual dependence across borders has arisen — and with it an increased risk of sabotage and unwanted attention from hostile actors,” the Ministry added.

The six countries “must stand united and coordinated in our efforts to protect critical infrastructure across borders,” Aagaard stressed.

The move came after the undersea explosions damaged parts of the Nord Stream pipelines, designed to carry gas from Russia to Europe.

Following the explosions, NATO's focus has been on underwater assets due to sabotage concerns.

In May 2023, the alliance warned that Russia may sabotage undersea cables to punish Western countries for supporting Ukraine.

Attacks on the Nord Stream gas pipelines have previously been blamed on Moscow, however, at the time Russian Defense Ministry accused the West and blamed British navy personnel of blowing up the pipeline.

The Sept. 2022 explosion caused large-scale ruptures in both Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines which leaked gas that was visible from the surface of the Baltic Ocean.

Two leaks were detected in Denmark's exclusive economic zones and two in Sweden's, however, both countries have since closed their probes into the blasts.

Russian-owned Nord Stream 2 pipeline was initially built to flow gas from Russia under the Baltic Sea to Germany, but the German authorities stopped it after Russia started war on Ukraine in February 2022.

Nord Stream 1 pipeline that stretches 1,200 kilometers (745 miles) under the Baltic Sea from the Russian coast near St. Petersburg to north-eastern Germany was stopped by Russia following Germany's decision.

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