A yacht chartered by six mysterious agents with fake passports, explosives delivered to the crew in the dead of night, and a shadowy organization outside the control of a nation-state.
These are components of a compelling new theory that has begun to emerge of unsolved bomb attacks against the $20 billion Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines on September 26, 2022.
The massive explosions caused an estimated $500 million in damage and left serious doubts about whether this major infrastructure network, built to transport gas from Russia to Western Europe, will ever be repaired. The attack sparked an ongoing blame game between Moscow and the West as international authorities struggle to identify the culprit.
Investigators have now focused on a 50-foot sailing yacht, named the Andromeda, as a key piece to the puzzle. Andromeda left a German port in early September with six people on board who had chartered the boat using high-quality fake passports – and then embarked on a journey that took it directly over the blast zone.
In another exciting development, the supertanker Minerva Jolly spent an entire week circling a section of ocean near the area around the same time as the Andromeda voyage. It led some observers to wonder: Was this more than a coincidence?
A theory has emerged about the Nord Stream attacks that speculates that the chartered yacht in Germany was used by militants who planted the bombs. It is believed that the group received the explosives in a picturesque German coastal town before embarking on the journey.
Investigators have focused on this 50-foot sailing yacht, called the Andromeda, as an important piece in the puzzle of who attacked Nord Stream’s pipelines. The yacht is chartered by six people using fake identity cards and they embark on a journey over the blast sites in the Baltic Sea
Andromeda’s voyage coincided with a period when Minerva Jolly (pictured) spent a week circling an area of ocean near where the Nord Stream attack took place. The ship’s owners said it was simply “awaiting instructions for its next voyage.”
Andromeda departed her port of Rostock, Germany, on September 6. The boat was chartered by six unknown persons who presented false identification documents and informed the staff at the yacht’s owner, Mola Yaqing GmbH, that they were planning a cruise across the Baltic Sea.
According to German officials, the rental of the boat was covered by a company registered in Poland. It is believed that this company is under the control of the owners of Ukraine.
The day after leaving Rostock, the boat arrived in Wyck, a much smaller German port city about 60 miles northeast.
German officials believe that the yacht’s crew received the explosives used to blow up the pipelines here. They speculated that the bombs were passed to the crew in a white van during the night, when security cameras were not monitoring the port.
Investigators, who also suspected that more operatives had arrived that night to assist in the mission, searched Andromeda in late January and found traces of explosives inside it.
Renee Redman, the harbor master at Wake, said he thought nothing of the yacht’s half-dozen crew. He only learned something was wrong when authorities contacted him in January asking him to hand over the port’s records.
It is not clear exactly how long Andromeda remained in Wick before completing her journey.
But from there, the crew traveled northeast into the Baltic Sea – and toward the area of ocean above where Nord Stream’s tubes had been attacked 80 meters below the surface.
What happened next is not entirely clear. The boat was small enough that it was not equipped with the tracking device found on large merchant ships.
The boat reached Wake on 7 September. It has been speculated that the bombs were passed to the crew in a white van during the night, when security cameras were not monitoring the port.
Minerva Jolie’s tracking data shows she spent about a week in the area where the eruptions occurred. The ship’s owners said it was simply “awaiting instructions for its next voyage.”
What is known is that Andromeda eventually docked again in mid-September on the small Danish island of Kristiansø, ten miles from the larger Bornholm island and just a few miles from the explosion sites.
Danish police contacted Kristiansau’s official, Søren Thiem Andersen, in December to request information about any boats that entered its home port between September 16 and 18. Police also asked Andersen to ask residents of the island for any photos or videos they took there. ports on those dates.
The entire voyage took nearly two weeks before Andromeda returned to Rostock. Days later, the bombs were detonated, causing severe damage to pipelines and releasing tens of thousands of tons of methane.
Investigators are now trying to piece together how the mysterious crew aboard the Andromeda carried out the attacks during their voyage. Military officials agree that such an operation would require sophisticated equipment, a large amount of explosives, and a highly trained and well-funded crew. Some argue that such a task could be carried out from a chartered five-cabin yacht.
The mystery is compounded by the movements of an oil tanker named the Minerva Jolly for a week in September.
The 600-foot, Greek-flagged tanker was heading east from Rotterdam when it stopped in the Baltic Sea and spent seven days, from September 5 to 13, circling an area of ocean near where the pipelines were targeted.
Minerva Maritime’s owners said on March 10 that the ship was simply “awaiting instructions for her next voyage.”
speculated open source intelligence analyst Oliver Alexander, who provided a detailed analysis of Andromeda’s movements. substack that the yacht could have ferried the team and supplies to the Minerva Julie, a large ship much better equipped for such a task.
US intelligence officials recently said that a pro-Ukrainian group may have carried out the attack. Russian President Vladimir Putin said that America is responsible
Russia was also accused of carrying out the Nord Stream gas explosions. Explanations range from divers to spy submarines and underwater drones, with one possible motive for crippling Europe’s winter energy supplies.
A report by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh claimed that the United States was responsible for the Nord Stream pipeline attacks. Navy divers allegedly planted the explosives in June, using a NATO exercise as cover. It was allegedly remotely detonated in September.
Investigators and some intelligence officials are also considering the view that the perpetrators did not act on behalf of a nation-state. In other words, they did not have the power and resources of a government or army behind them.
Suspicions increased last week when US intelligence officials reported that a pro-Ukrainian group may have carried out the attack without the knowledge of President Volodymyr Zelensky or his government.
The theory with Andromeda at its center is the latest to surface about how the attacks were carried out – and who was responsible for them.
A sensational and highly controversial report by Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist Seymour Hersh in February claimed that specialized US Navy dive teams carried out the attack during a top-secret mission overseen by President Joe Biden.
The White House and the CIA flatly dismissed the report as “complete fiction”.
Russia has blamed the United States for the attacks and Vladimir Putin said last week that any speculation that Ukraine was responsible was “complete nonsense”. US intelligence said a pro-Ukrainian group was responsible. Russia has also previously accused the UK.
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