The US may analyze sound readings from the Nord Stream explosion

The new information may help with the investigation.
Loukia Papadopoulos
The Nord Stream pipeline.jpg
The Nord Stream pipeline

Dragan Mihajlovic/iStock 

On Wednesday, two anonymous sources told CNN that the US is considering using its most advanced underwater sound reading capabilities to analyze audio recordings from the time of the Nord Stream gas pipelines’ explosion.

Processing sonar signatures

The analysis would involve the US Navy processing sonar signatures provided by Sweden and Denmark. This process may lead to an understanding of what was in the area at the time of the pipelines’ suspected sabotage and what may have caused it.

So far, investigators have had satellite images from the days before the leaks, but they have not proven helpful because the weather was cloudy.

A Navy spokesperson did not confirm whether this offer was made but did say the Navy was ready to help with the investigations.

“We are aware of reports concerning leaks to the Nord Stream pipelines. We stand ready to provide support and assistance in close coordination with our allies and partners, if needed,” Capt. Tamara Lawrence said.

Meanwhile, the Swedish National Seismic Network (SNSN) revealed they had detected the explosions and could share their seismic recordings with the US. However, these are not the same as high-quality sonar recordings.

“What they are looking for is known signatures of adversaries class of ships or known signatures associated with an act like opening a torpedo door. The goal is to determine what caused this. The quality of the data and the kind of historical data in the database will determine to what degree they can accurately attribute this event using sonar signatures,” explained Mark Montgomery, the senior director of the Center on Cyber and Technology Innovation at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

The US may analyze sound readings from the Nord Stream explosion
An illustration of the Nord Stream pipeline's location.

So far, the Swedish military has been very helpful to the investigation, sending multiple ships to the area around the incident, Philip Simon, a spokesperson for the Swedish Armed Forces, told CNN. One of those ships, a submarine rescue vessel named the HMS Belos, can capture high-quality underwater recordings; however, it arrived on the scene of the crime over the weekend after the explosions took place.

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“The use of acoustics and sonar technology will be very important here. It’s forensic evidence. It is like getting a sonogram from a doctor,” explained Joseph Mazzafro, a defense contractor and retired Navy captain.

Best sensors in the world

“The US has the best sensors in the world to detect sound and pick meaningful information out of the noise in the water. And we have people that understand the science of acoustics because the US has been doing this since the 1940s. They know what submarines sound like, underwater drilling all of that. Then you add to that considerable computing power and AI intelligence.”

Swedish Coast Guard spokesperson Mattias Lindholm added that the Swedish ships on site are technologically advanced. “We have the capabilities that are of interest to the prosecutor to move the investigation forward,” Lindholm said.

The Biden administration is now coordinating with allies to increase security around its infrastructure. Can it keep its assets safe against future incidents?

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