COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — A mysterious object found at the bottom of the Baltic Sea, which Danish authorities had hoped could provide clues to the bombings that incapacitated the Nord Stream pipelines, has turned out to be a harmless smoke signal canister.
The Danish Energy Agency said Wednesday that the cylindrical object found on the seabed by the Nord Stream 2 pipeline was an empty maritime smoke buoy, which is used for visual marking.
An agency statement said the object had been recovered Tuesday. The Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines in the Baltic, built to carry Russian natural gas to Germany, were damaged by explosions on the night of Sept. 26, 2022. The cause of the blasts remains unknown.
“The object does not pose a safety risk,” the Danish agency said, adding that the buoy was raised from a depth of 73 meters (240 feet) and a representative of the pipeline owner, Nord Stream2 AG, was present during the salvage.
Last week, a photo of the object, measuring about 40 centimeters (16 inches) long and 10 centimeters (4 inches) in diameter, was released. Danish authorities found it during an inspection of an intact stretch of pipeline.
Danish authorities had said they would salvage the object “with a view to further clarifying the nature of the object,” hoping it could provide clues as to who was behind the bombings.
The pipelines were not operational at the time of the attack due to disputes between Russia and the European Union amid the war in Ukraine.
The pipelines have long been a target of criticism by the United States and some of its allies, who warned that they posed a risk to Europe’s energy security by increasing the continent’s dependence on Russian gas.
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