The defence ministers of the member states approved plans for a NATO “maritime centre for the security of critical underwater infrastructure” at a meeting in Brussels, the alliance’s Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Friday.
It is to be set up at NATO’s naval headquarters in Northwood near London and, among other things, create a new surveillance system.
It will be responsible for parts of the Atlantic as well as for areas in the North Sea, the Baltic Sea, the Mediterranean Sea and the Black Sea.
According to the former German three-star general Hans-Werner Wiermann, the background behind the plan is information that Russian ships have mapped critical infrastructure in the alliance area.
Wiermann expressed concern that Russia could attack submarine cables to paralyze public life. He did not say when the new team would take up its work.
Efforts to protect infrastructure come in reaction to the alleged acts of sabotage against the Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipelines.
Who is behind that remains unclear. There are traces that point to possible perpetrators from Ukraine. But according to experts, the sabotage could also have been a so-called false flag operation by Russia.