Nord Stream 1: New pictures of the explosion site released


Status: 11/30/2022 12:00 p.m

Underwater images taken by Greenpeace of the explosion site on the Nord Stream 1 pipeline could provide new clues. The recordings that dem SWR available exclusively, but also raise new questions.

By Marilina Görz y Moratalla and Nick Schader, SWR

New footage of one of the Nord Stream 1 pipeline’s landing sites SWR according to experts, could be an initial basis for further investigations into the alleged attacks. The pictures are underwater shots that were taken a few days ago by the environmental protection organization Greenpeace on an expedition and document new details of the destruction

The images are from one of the leaks, which is located in Sweden’s economic zone off the island of Bornholm. The environmentalists were able to determine the coordinates of the attack site by researching various data. Videos were recorded by a diving robot at a depth of 79 meters.

According to the expert opinion, a blast from the outside is likely

These images show a completely ruptured pipe, bent steel, and sections of the pipeline protruding up to seven meters from the ground, as well as a blown-off concrete casing. In a report that the SWR “In the context of known considerations, it seems unlikely that the line was blown up from the inside for the section examined.”

The explosives expert Fritz Pfeiffer, who did the analysis for Greenpeace, therefore considers a blast near the pipeline to be more likely. According to his preliminary assessment, around 200 to 400 kg of explosives were used for the section examined.

Greenpeace has long criticized the fact that the federal government has been providing little information on the background and environmental consequences of the explosions on the pipelines for weeks. Therefore, the environmentalists wanted to get an idea of ​​​​the situation themselves and drove to the Swedish economic zone near the island of Bornholm with a ship and a diving robot.

Greenpeace is investigating the environmental impact of explosions on the Nord Stream 1 and 2 gas pipelines

Nick Schader, SWR, daily news at 12:00 p.m., November 30, 2022

Examination for warfare residues

A SWR-Reporter was able to accompany this Greenpeace expedition exclusively to the locations where the Baltic Sea pipeline was struck. On site, 40 soil and water samples were taken around one of the Nord Stream 1 explosion sites. According to Greenpeace, these are examined in the Toxicological Institute of the University of Kiel for residues of chemical warfare agents and explosives. The results can be expected in 14 days at the earliest.

At the same time, it should be clarified whether the explosions could have stirred up highly toxic contaminated deposits from the seabed. Because in the area where the explosions took place, thousands of tons of old ammunition and chemical warfare agents from both world wars were dumped.

“There is no information about a possible poison cloud that could have been caused by the attacks in connection with the contaminated sites,” Greenpeace marine biologist Thilo Maack told SWR. Greenpeace is therefore calling for the urgent and professional disposal of these contaminated sites in the Baltic Sea.

According to estimates by Danish marine scientist Hans Sanderson, who is currently investigating the effects of the attacks on the gas leaks, there are around 11,000 tons of chemical explosives off Bornholm. However, he does not consider disposal to be unproblematic: “We do not yet know how dangerous and risky it is to salvage the war material. But we do know that it is a very expensive undertaking.”

At the request of SWR explains the forensic scientist and explosives expert Wolfgang Spyra: “It is a good approach that there is now further, new information in addition to that from the authorities. If it is possible to find further fragments of the pipeline at the site of the accident and have them examined forensically, one might have a chance to learn more about what happened.”

Where are the missing pieces of debris?

According to Spyra, the information available so far has revealed inexplicable contradictions. So the scientist wonders why no more parts of the pipeline were found: If around 250 meters of pipeline were destroyed, the material could not have disappeared. “In the search, one would have to have found such larger objects that could provide information about the background.” According to Spyra, the disadvantage of the current information policy of the authorities is that with little information there is room for speculation. This is not appropriate behavior in times of crisis.

Four leaks were discovered on the two Nord Stream pipelines in September after explosions near the island of Bornholm. Swedish investigators attribute the explosions to attacks. So far, however, no suspects have been named.

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