BERLIN — German officials say they are investigating whether the deaths of 18 porpoises in the Baltic Sea are connected to a navy demining operation earlier this year.
A spokesman for Germany’s Defense Ministry said Monday that “so far no direct link has been established” between the detonation of 42 WWII-era mines and the deaths of the endangered marine mammals.
Frank Faehnrich told reporters that should a link be found "we obviously regret it."
But this time Navy sonar likely played no role in their deaths.
The mines were blown up in August during a NATO maneuver, after civilian authorities warned they were becoming increasingly unsafe with age.
Environment Ministry spokesman Stephan Gabriel Haufe said the detonation took place in a marine reserve and that porpoises in the Baltic enjoy “particularly strict protection.”