Close cooperation laid foundation for Nord Stream sabotage investigation

The large spill Nord Stream 1 220928

Swedish authorities were able to respond quickly to the sabotage of Nord Stream’s gas pipelines on 26 September 2022. Extensive cooperation laid the foundation for the investigation led by the Swedish Prosecution Authority, which has now been discontinued. The preliminary investigation reached a stage where the authorities have a good idea of what happened, but the Swedish Prosecution Authority announced on 7 February 2024 that nothing has emerged to suggest that Sweden or Swedish citizens were involved in the attack, which took place in international waters.

A number of authorities quickly initiated intensive cooperation to perform a variety of tasks in the Swedish economic zone, i.e. outside Swedish territory.

“Cooperation may sometimes come across as a tired expression, but the importance of cooperation is illustrated perfectly by the Nord Stream incident. This is how things are supposed to work when Swedish authorities cooperate effectively,” says Lena Lindgren Schelin, Director General of the Swedish Coast Guard.

With the support of the Navy, the Swedish Coast Guard, the Swedish Prosecution Authority and the Swedish Security Service assisted with measures to secure the site, investigate the area and the pipelines, and gather information as part of the investigation of the crime scene and the preliminary investigation.

“The Coast Guard acted quickly, primarily on the basis of the environmental rescue mission, but also to assist other authorities with our resources and expertise. Our collective and simultaneous efforts allowed us to get results in a very unusual situation, in the Swedish economic zone but outside our territory,” says Lena Lindgren Schelin.

The Coast Guard’s own work, related mainly to the ongoing gas escape, included monitoring the escape, monitoring maritime traffic in the area, remaining on standby for environmental rescue and assisting shipping. A number of ships in the area were hailed and advised to change course so as not to risk getting too close to the escape, which resembled vigorously boiling water. During the first and most intense phase, this “boiling” water was spread over almost a thousand metres, causing water to shoot several tens of metres up into the air.

This incident is unique, and the Coast Guard has never before faced a similar event.

“We were able to do our bit for the response thanks to the authority’s expertise, preparations for unexpected events and dedicated staff,” says Lena Lindgren Schelin.

“Success is built by having well-developed contacts, trusting one another and every authority acting fully within their respective mandates. We are stronger together, rather than when we each work alone on our own missions and capabilities. One plus one equals three,” says Lena Lindgren Schelin.

Changed 29 April 2024 16:14