Finnish police are investigating a Chinese container ship following damage to a gas pipeline and two telecoms cables.

They believe the damage was caused by a vessel dragging its anchor on the sea bed.

The Balticconnector subsea gas pipeline was ruptured on 8 October.

Reuters reported that investigators have retrieved a lost anchor from the site and are trying to establish if it came from the 1,638-teu NewNew Polar Bear (built 2005).

This ship had travelled above the pipeline and the cables at the time of the incident.

Police said they had learned that the NewNew Polar Bear was missing one of its front anchors.

Attempts to contact the vessel have proved unsuccessful, they added.

China has called for an “objective, fair and professional” investigation into the pipeline damage.

The incident cut off pipeline gas supplies to Finland.

The report said broad drag marks were seen on the sea bed and the anchor was found lying just beyond the damaged area.

Intentional or negligent?

“The next questions are about whether it was intentional, negligence, poor seamanship, and that’s where we get into whether there could be a motive for what’s going on,” National Bureau of Investigation chief Robin Lardot told a press conference.

“But it’s too early to answer that at this stage,” he added.

The NewNew Polar Bear is operated by China’s Hainan Xin Xin Yang Shipping, part of Torgmoll Supply Chain Co, which has been contacted for comment.

Insurance is provided by the London P&I Club.

In September last year, the larger Nord Stream pipelines connecting Germany and Russia were damaged by explosions.

Authorities have said this was sabotage, but no definitive answer has been provided as to who was behind the attack.