Danish Air Force fighter pilots have located the three gas leaks on the Nord Stream gas pipelines in the Baltic Sea.
One of the pilots managed to capture aerial pictures of the leaks onboard an F-16 fighter operated by the air force’s interceptor response unit. The first leak was found on Nord Stream 2 on September 25, 2022, and two leaks on Nord Stream 1 the next day.
Following the incident, three exclusion zones, both aerial and naval, were established around the leaks.
“The defense is supporting in connection with the authorities’ efforts regarding the leaks on the Nord Stream gas pipelines in the Baltic Sea,” the Danish Air Force said in a statement published on September 27, 2022. “The frigate Absalon and the environmental ship Gunnar Thorson are on their way to carry out water monitoring at the exclusion zones, and the Norwegian Defense Forces are also supporting with a helicopter capacity. In addition, the patrol ship Rota was in the area last night.”
A Danish EH101 Merlin search and rescue helicopter also recorded footage from the bubbling waters above the leaks.
Billeder fra F-16 af gaslækage i Østersøen. https://t.co/OgCDfcvTjG pic.twitter.com/D5wsoXvuda
— Forsvaret (@forsvaretdk) September 27, 2022
Suspicion of sabotage
The two underwater pipelines that run from Russia to Germany to transport gas to Europe have been at the center of numerous controversies since the invasion of Ukraine. Sabotage has not been ruled out.
Measuring stations in both Sweden and Denmark registered strong underwater explosions on the day the first leak was found, Swedish National Seismic Network lecturer Björn Lund told national TV channel SVT.
Nord Stream 1 was shut down by its operator, Gazprom, in early September 2022. Nord Stream 2, which was completed in early 2022, never entered service. However, both pipes are filled with gas.
Coincidentally, Denmark, Norway, and Poland inaugurated the Baltic Pipe, a gas pipeline linking Poland to Norway, on September 27, 2022. The European Union hopes the new pipeline will mitigate the current energy crisis caused by the war in Ukraine.