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Explosive-laden underwater drone found near Nord Stream gas pipeline

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
A Seafox underwater mine disposal vehicle

An explosive-laden underwater drone has been found in the vicinity of the Nord Stream gas pipeline under multinational waters the Baltic sea, says Swedish media.

The abandoned drone, said to be a one-shot mine disposal vehicle, was found north of the island of Gotland during a routine check on the pipeline, the daily Swedish newspaper Svenska Daglabet reported on Saturday.

As it was found in the Swedish economic zone, the Swedish navy was duly informed.     

Such ROVs (remotely-operated underwater vehicle) are usually used to dispose of large immovable armaments, such as mines on the seabed, by being detonated near the object.

Even thought the ROV is believed to be armed, the Swedish military states that it is most probably harmless in its current position as its control cable, which would tether it to a nearby floating vessel, has been severed.

“We don't consider it to be dangerous to merchant vessels or the pipeline at this point,” said Swedish Armed Forces spokesman, Jesper Stolpe.

He noted that the national identity of the drone is yet to be identified, adding that many countries use similar types of equipment as around 100,000 mines, left over from World War II are thought to litter the region’s sea floor.

On Monday, a professional diving team will investigate the site and either remove or dispose of the over one meter long minesweeper.  

The Nord Stream connects Russia and Germany and was built by Russia's gas giant Gazprom.

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