Russia starts repairs of its Baltika data cable in the Gulf of Finland
The Russian salvage vessel Spasatel KarevKarev began to repair Rostelecom’s Baltika telecommunications cable in the Gulf of Finland on 6 November. The company has negotiated with the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment concerning the repair of the faulty cable, which is partly located in Finland’s exclusive economic zone.
In Finland, the responsible authorities are the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment as the competent permit authority for the exclusive economic zone, and the Border Guard, which is in charge of the surveillance of the exclusive economic zone at sea.
Baltika is a telecommunications cable of approximately 1,000 kilometres in length between the areas of St. Petersburg and Kaliningrad. The cable is partly located in the exclusive economic zones of Finland and Sweden. In Finland’s economic zone, the length of the sea cable is approximately 377 km, and 395 km in Sweden’s economic zone.
Russia’s state-owned telecommunications operator Rostelecom informed Finland on 12 October 2023 that its telecommunications cable in Finland’s exclusive economic zone was faulty and that the company intended to carry out repairs on site.
The possibility of repair work is included in the Government’s consent to construct a sea cable through Finland’s exclusive economic zone given on 25 June 2020. The decision was issued under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and the Act on the Exclusive Economic Zone of Finland. Rostelecom also has a water permit granted by the Regional State Administrative Agency of Finland to construct and maintain the cables.
The repair and maintenance of cables in Finland’s exclusive economic zone require prior notification to Traficom and a review of the measures with the Finnish authorities. Vessels carrying out repairs must comply with the international navigation rules in maritime transport.
The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment and Rostelecom have been in contact several times in order to obtain additional information and to discuss the permit conditions. The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment requested that the repairs planned by the company for October be postponed due to the pre-trial investigation, the coastal state’s duty to exercise proper care and the precautionary principle, which is a permit condition. Rostelecom has provided the requested information to the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment. The company justified the need for rapid repairs to ensure services in the Kaliningrad region, among other things. In accordance with the permit conditions, Rostelecom informed Traficom that it would begin the repairs on 4 November.
At the request of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, the Ministry of Transport and Communications also informed Cinia about the repairs, because Cinia’s C-Lion telecommunications cable is located near the Baltika cable. Rostelecom has already previously been in contact with Gasgrid under the crossing agreement.
Kari Klemm, Senior Ministerial Adviser, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 295 063 523