The Swedish prosecutor in charge of investigating pipeline leaks in the Baltic Sea has ordered the area closed as he conducts a preliminary investigation into “suspected gross sabotage”.
Prosecutor Mats Ljungqvist said late on Monday: “I understand the great public interest, but we are at the beginning of a preliminary investigation and therefore I cannot go into details about what investigative measures we are taking.”
The Swedish coast guard said ships, divers, fishing vessels and underwater craft, among others, are prohibited from approaching within 5.8 miles (9.3 km) of the two leaks off Sweden.
Last week, underwater explosions involving several hundred pounds of explosives damaged the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines at four locations off southern Sweden and Denmark and led to massive methane leaks in international waters of the Baltic Sea.
Over the weekend, authorities in Denmark said the natural gas pipelines Nord Stream 1 and 2 had stopped leaking. However, the Swedish coast guard said on Monday that one of its planes had reported that the smaller leak in Nord Stream 2 had grown and was about 100 feet (30 m) in diameter.
The Coast Guard gave no explanation as to why the leak had increased. The other, in Nord Stream 1, has stopped, it said.
A Swedish submarine rescue vessel capable of advanced diving missions and a Swedish coast guard vessel have been sent to the two leaks off Sweden.
It is still unclear when divers or a submarine will be able to go down to the pipelines.
Danish authorities are monitoring the two gas leaks east of the Danish Baltic Sea Bornholm with ships and a military helicopter.
In Sweden, the security service also participates in the investigation, while the Copenhagen police are responsible for an investigation in Denmark.
The UN Security Council held an emergency meeting on the pipeline attacks on Friday and Norwegian scientists published a map showing that a huge plume of methane from the damaged pipelines will travel across much of the Nordic region.