Two ‘dark ships’ with trackers turned off passed by Nord Streams few days before leaks, Wired reports
European security services detected ships of the Russian Navy in the area of gas leaks (Photo:REUTERS / Arnd Wiegmann)
Two large vessels with their trackers turned off were near the place where the Nord Stream 2 gas leak in the Baltic Sea was discovered days later, the U.S. magazine Wired wrote on Nov. 11, referring to the analysis by satellite data monitoring firm SpaceKnow.
Two “dark ships,” each measuring around 95 to 130 meters long, passed within several miles of the Nord Stream 2 leak sites, according to Wired.
“We have detected some dark ships, meaning vessels that were of a significant size, that were passing through that area of interest,” said Jerry Javornicky, the CEO and cofounder of SpaceKnow.
“They had their beacons off, meaning there was no information about their movement, and they were trying to keep their location information and general information hidden from the world,” Javornicky adds.
The company had to scour 90 days of archived satellite imagery of the sea in order to detect the ships, Wired reports.
Once SpaceKnow detected the ships, it reported its findings to officials at NATO, who are investigating the Nord Stream incidents. Javornicky says NATO officials asked the company to provide more information.
NATO spokesperson Oana Lungescu said the alliance does not comment on the “details of our support or the sources used” but confirmed that NATO believes the incident was a “deliberate and irresponsible act of sabotage” and it has increased its presence in the Baltic and North Seas.
Previously, CNN wrote with reference to representatives of Western intelligence agencies that on Sept. 26 and 27, employees of the European security services detected ships of the Russian Navy in the area of gas leaks from the Nord Stream and Nord Stream 2 gas pipelines.
There were reports of three leakage points on the Nord Stream-1 and Nord Stream-2 gas pipelines on Sept. 27 – two on the first and one on the second. The incident occurred near the coast of Denmark and coincided with the presentation of the European Baltic Stream project, which allows the supply of up to 10 billion cubic meters of gas per year from Norway to Poland, via Danish territory.
Sweden reported the fourth gas leak from the Nord Stream and Nord Stream 2 pipelines On Sept. 29.
German authorities assume that both strands of the Nord Stream gas pipeline and one of the two strands of Nord Stream-2 may be unusable forever.
The defense ministers of Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland and Iceland, as well as the EU leaders, consider the incidents of damage to the Nord Stream-1 and Nord Stream-2 pipelines to be “deliberate acts of sabotage.”
Subsequently, NATO also declared sabotage and threatened a decisive response.
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