The Coast Guard rescued three divers off Poland’s northern coast over the weekend, and their questionable explanation for their nighttime dive near vital energy infrastructure, along with their mysterious identities, reportedly sparked a cross-agency investigation. The three men, who had told authorities they were Spanish nationals, were rescued near the Polish port city of Gdansk on Saturday night after their small motorboat broke down and they were unable to return to shore.
Since then, suspicions have mounted about their intentions. They were rescued close to the Navtoport facility in the port of Gdańsk, which receives tanker shipments of oil and other petroleum products. They are also found near an area where they are found Plans to build a new floating natural gas terminal.
The Maritime Search and Rescue Service told CBS News that the rescue involved police officers, firefighters and medical personnel. Search and rescue spokesman Rafal Goek described the rescue operation – just before 2am local time – as “somewhat abnormal”.
“We got a signal from the fire brigade about a ship in trouble,” Gwick told CBS News, adding that conditions at the time were rough, with strong winds and big waves. The air temperature was about 43 degrees Fahrenheit, and the water was closer to 37 degrees.
“In my 12 years in the Maritime Search and Rescue Service, I have never witnessed anything like it,” he said. “Diving under these conditions is not normal.”
The 13-foot red pleasure boat broke down three nautical miles north of Gdansk. The ship’s crew said they struggled for six hours to get it working again. There was no explanation why they had waited so long, in the dark and cold in a rough sea, to call for help.
Police officials determined that the men were not authorized to operate the boat and had not been given permission to dive. According to Polish media reports, only one of the two men had a Spanish passport, while the others only provided their verbal identification.
Another wrinkle was their explanation: The men claimed they were looking for amber. While the Baltic Sea is famous for its huge deposits of amber, searching for it in the dark is unlikely to be a successful strategy.
Seasoned amber fishermen interviewed by Polish media said something else didn’t make sense: The men had an underwater motorbike, used to drag divers quickly through the water — something that wouldn’t help in searching for small items on the sea floor, especially like this. , the fan of the device raises debris from below, which reduces visibility.
The officers apparently saw nothing suspicious at first in the fact that the men had been diving near critical infrastructure at night without a permit and with unusual amber-fishing equipment, and the local police did not follow up, releasing the men without further questioning.
They all reportedly left Poland.
Cezary Przybjorka, the deputy captain of the Gdansk port, told Polish media that only one of the men had official identification, and that the phone numbers given by the divers were either incorrect or inoperable.
The police and the Polish Internal Security Agency have begun an investigation. Various reports indicate that Poland’s Central Police Investigation Office, a unit dealing with organized crime, is the lead agency. The office declined CBS News’ request for comment on the case.
The incident raised serious concerns about protecting critical national energy infrastructure as Russia’s ongoing war in Ukraine continues to keep energy prices skyrocketing. A thorough investigation can be expected, especially so soon after the sabotage attack on the Nordstream 1 undersea gas pipeline just weeks earlier.
European and American officials have done so aggressivelyon the pipeline.
Poland’s port of Gdansk, vital to the country’s energy supply, lies only about 20 miles from Russia’s remote and equally strategic western Kaliningrad region.
“Lifelong food lover. Avid beeraholic. Zombie fanatic. Passionate travel practitioner.”