General – underwater protection
Britain will acquire two specialist ships to protect underwater infrastructure such as cables and pipelines, defence minister Ben Wallace said on Sunday, following leaks in the Nord Stream gas pipelines from Russia to Europe.
European countries say the Nord Stream pipelines were damaged by ‘sabotage’ but have stopped short of blaming Moscow. Russian President Vladimir Putin has blamed Western countries.
Speaking at the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham, Wallace spoke about ‘mysterious damage’ inflicted to the pipelines but made clear that he saw the threat to Britain’s infrastructure as coming from Russia.
Wallace said the first multi-role survey ship for seabed warfare would be bought this year and would be operational by the end of next year, while the second ship would be built in the United Kingdom.