Norwegian Fishermen discover beluga whale ‘trained by Russian Navy’ and wearing a harness – Daily Mail

Fishermen discover ‘spy’ whale ‘trained by Russian Navy’ and wearing a harness ‘to hold camera equipment’ off of Norway

  • Norwegian fisherman have freed a beluga whale wearing a tight harness 
  • The crew jumped into the freezing water to release it on Friday
  • The strap featured a camera mount and ‘equipment of St. Petersburg’ label 
  • This has prompted speculation the whale may have escaped the Russian Navy 

Norwegian fisherman have discovered a beluga whale wearing a tight harness with a camera attachment – sparking speculation the animal belongs to the Russian Navy.

The crew worked together to release the animal from the straps on Saturday.

One of the fisherman told Norway’s state broadcaster NRK they jumped into the freezing water to help the animal.

He said: ‘When I was lying in the water, he came all the way up to the side, and I managed to reach the front buckle and open it.’  

Fisherman have freed a beluga whale off the coast of Norway wearing a tight harness believed to belong to the Russian Navy, on Saturday

Fisherman have freed a beluga whale off the coast of Norway wearing a tight harness believed to belong to the Russian Navy, on Saturday

Fisherman have freed a beluga whale off the coast of Norway wearing a tight harness believed to belong to the Russian Navy, on Saturday

Norway’s Directorate of Fisheries also shared photos of the whale with straps around its body on social media around.

‘White whale off the Finnmarkkysten coast that had tight straps fastened around the body is free,’ the caption read.

‘Crew from the Fisheries Directorate’s Sea Service are trained to release whales from ropes and fishing gear and, together with the local fisherman Joar Hesten, they managed to liberate the whale.’

Inspector Joergen Ree Wiig of the Norwegian Directorate of Fisheries, who was at the scene, said the harness was branded with ‘equipment of St. Petersburg’ and featured a mount for an action camera. 

This has prompted speculation the animal may have escaped from a Russian military facility. 

Audun Rikardsen, an arctic and marine biology professor at the department of arctic the Arctic University of Norway, also spoke to the Norwegian national broadcaster Russian Navy keeping whales in captivity. 

‘We know that in Russia they have had domestic whales in captivity and also that some of these have apparently been released. Then they often seek out boats.’

Meanwhile, Russia has dismissed claims its ‘spy whale’ had been caught snooping on the fishing vessels of a NATO country — despite the Defence Ministry in Moscow previously admitting to experiments using these mammals for espionage. 

Inspector Joergen Ree Wiig of the Norwegian Directorate of Fisheries, who was at the scene (pictured with the whale), said the harness was branded with 'equipment of St. Petersburg' and featured a mount for an action camera

Inspector Joergen Ree Wiig of the Norwegian Directorate of Fisheries, who was at the scene (pictured with the whale), said the harness was branded with 'equipment of St. Petersburg' and featured a mount for an action camera

Inspector Joergen Ree Wiig of the Norwegian Directorate of Fisheries, who was at the scene (pictured with the whale), said the harness was branded with ‘equipment of St. Petersburg’ and featured a mount for an action camera

This has prompted speculation the animal may have escaped from a Russian military facility, which has been reported on in the past (harness pictured)

This has prompted speculation the animal may have escaped from a Russian military facility, which has been reported on in the past (harness pictured)

This has prompted speculation the animal may have escaped from a Russian military facility, which has been reported on in the past (harness pictured)

‘If this whale comes from Russia – and there is great reason to believe it – then it is not Russian scientists, but rather the navy that has done this,’ claimed Martin Biuw of the Institute of Marine Research in Norway.

There was no immediate official comment from Moscow but there appeared a bid to deny and ridicule the use of whales as underwater conscripts.

‘The Norwegians would, perhaps, want to see a GRU (military intelligence) officer’s identity card attached to the (whale),’ said Viktor Baranets, a retired colonel cited by Moskovsky Komsomolets.

He accused Norway and the rest of Scandinavia of ‘paranoia that sees either our nuclear submarine or our divers in each floating log’.

Conceding it came from Russia, he claimed the whale was probably from a civilian research institute in St Petersburg.

Russia has dismissed claims its 'spy whale' had been caught snooping on the fishing vessels of a NATO country. 'The Norwegians would, perhaps, want to see a GRU (military intelligence) officer's identity card attached to the (whale),' said retired colonel Viktor Baranets (pictured)

Russia has dismissed claims its 'spy whale' had been caught snooping on the fishing vessels of a NATO country. 'The Norwegians would, perhaps, want to see a GRU (military intelligence) officer's identity card attached to the (whale),' said retired colonel Viktor Baranets (pictured)

Russia has dismissed claims its ‘spy whale’ had been caught snooping on the fishing vessels of a NATO country. ‘The Norwegians would, perhaps, want to see a GRU (military intelligence) officer’s identity card attached to the (whale),’ said retired colonel Viktor Baranets (pictured)

But two years ago the Russian Defence Ministry's one TV station Zvezda revealed a programme experimenting with whales for military purposes. The aim was to use the sea mammals or underwater warfare roles including potentially killing intruders, it stated

But two years ago the Russian Defence Ministry's one TV station Zvezda revealed a programme experimenting with whales for military purposes. The aim was to use the sea mammals or underwater warfare roles including potentially killing intruders, it stated

But two years ago the Russian Defence Ministry’s one TV station Zvezda revealed a programme experimenting with whales for military purposes. The aim was to use the sea mammals or underwater warfare roles including potentially killing intruders, it stated

A Twitter campaign also appeared to denigrate the claims that the whale may have had military uses.

‘A GoPro can work for a maximum of an hour in cold water. Can a white whale replace the battery and flash drive? What’s the point of putting such a useless camera on it?’ one comment read.

Another ridiculed the Norwegian claims saying: ‘The white whale could have easily bought this equipment in any military equipment shop.’

But two years ago the Russian Defence Ministry’s one TV station Zvezda revealed a programme experimenting with whales for military purposes.

The aim was to use the sea mammals or underwater warfare roles including potentially killing intruders, it stated.

The work was done alongside Russia’s attempts to deploy seals and dolphins for military purposes.

The work was done alongside Russia's attempts to deploy seals and dolphins for military purposes. It was reported last year that the Russian Academy of Scientists awarded an honour for 'outstanding research' for experiments involving sea mammals

The work was done alongside Russia's attempts to deploy seals and dolphins for military purposes. It was reported last year that the Russian Academy of Scientists awarded an honour for 'outstanding research' for experiments involving sea mammals

The work was done alongside Russia’s attempts to deploy seals and dolphins for military purposes. It was reported last year that the Russian Academy of Scientists awarded an honour for ‘outstanding research’ for experiments involving sea mammals

It was reported last year that the Russian Academy of Scientists awarded an honour for ‘outstanding research’ for experiments involving sea mammals.

Experiments were undertaken to assess whether white whales could be used to ‘guard entrances to naval bases’ in polar regions and ‘assist deep water divers and if necessary kill any strangers who enter their territory’, according to the TV Zvezda report.

‘It was mainly about white whales with highly sensitive sonars,’ stated the story.

‘It was planned that white whales could be on duty at the entrances to naval bases.

‘But (they) turned to be very delicate animals – they easily got ill after long swimming in cold polar waters.’

The whales reportedly failed to obey commands as well as seals, claimed the Russian military.

Experiments were undertaken to assess whether white whales could be used to 'guard entrances to naval bases' in polar regions and 'assist deep water divers and if necessary kill any strangers who enter their territory', according to the TV Zvezda report

Experiments were undertaken to assess whether white whales could be used to 'guard entrances to naval bases' in polar regions and 'assist deep water divers and if necessary kill any strangers who enter their territory', according to the TV Zvezda report

Experiments were undertaken to assess whether white whales could be used to ‘guard entrances to naval bases’ in polar regions and ‘assist deep water divers and if necessary kill any strangers who enter their territory’, according to the TV Zvezda report

Blue-nosed dolphins also underwent military training. Seals - known as the 'whiskered warriors' - are seen as 'very strong with good guarding reactions

Blue-nosed dolphins also underwent military training. Seals - known as the 'whiskered warriors' - are seen as 'very strong with good guarding reactions

Blue-nosed dolphins also underwent military training. Seals – known as the ‘whiskered warriors’ – are seen as ‘very strong with good guarding reactions

This raises the question whether a whale undergoing training escaped from its commanders – or, perhaps, suggests the tests using whales were more successful than the Zvezda report let on.

Blue-nosed dolphins also underwent military training. Seals – known as the ‘whiskered warriors’ – are seen as ‘very strong with good guarding reactions.

‘Even after a one year break in training the seal will keep all oral commands in its memory,’ stated the TV report.

Seals ‘can locate mines and lift objects from deep waters,’ explained Zvezda, which said research was conducted at Murmansk Sea Biology Research Institute in the Arctic.

‘It is enough to show an object to a seal and it will find it at the bottom. The seal can be actively in touch with a diver – it can bring up a tool or carry away something.

‘It can distinguish ‘his’ diver from a stranger. If the seal receives a special signal, it can block or kill the underwater saboteur.’

An open tender shows the Defence Ministry in 2016 bought five bottle-nosed dolphins aged between three and five

An open tender shows the Defence Ministry in 2016 bought five bottle-nosed dolphins aged between three and five

An open tender shows the Defence Ministry in 2016 bought five bottle-nosed dolphins aged between three and five

During the Cold War, scientists also worked with dolphins and whales seeking to deploy them against the West. Some were trained to attack enemy divers with special knives or pistols fixed to their heads

During the Cold War, scientists also worked with dolphins and whales seeking to deploy them against the West. Some were trained to attack enemy divers with special knives or pistols fixed to their heads

During the Cold War, scientists also worked with dolphins and whales seeking to deploy them against the West. Some were trained to attack enemy divers with special knives or pistols fixed to their heads

Bearded seals have come out on top as ‘special forces’ underwater combatants in northern conditions, it was reported in Russia.

Scientist Gennady Matishov said they had high ‘professionalism’, and humans are seen as happier to deal with seals than – for example – sea lions.

Yet seals are also known to become distracted and males may disappear if they decide to chase a female.

An open tender shows the Defence Ministry in 2016 bought five bottle-nosed dolphins aged between three and five.

Combat seals even have names – Buzya, Shlyopa, Zmey, Rada, Sonya, Fes, Veta, Tabita and Selena are stationed close to Polyarny – a key base of the Russian nuclear submarine fleet in the Arctic.

Putin’s pinniped unit is part of the Russian naval command, and the mammals train twice a day.

When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, a deployment of underwater mammals in the Black Sea included 62 bottle-nose dolphins, six sea lions, around ten seals and two white whales

When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, a deployment of underwater mammals in the Black Sea included 62 bottle-nose dolphins, six sea lions, around ten seals and two white whales

When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, a deployment of underwater mammals in the Black Sea included 62 bottle-nose dolphins, six sea lions, around ten seals and two white whales

‘We are working with grey and Greenland seals,’ said Dmitry Ishkulov, deputy head of the Murmansk Marine Biological Institute.

‘They eat a lot less than whales, it is easier to look after them, and to transport and train them.’

It takes about a year and a half to train the seal soldiers.

Scientist Alexander Zaytsev said: ‘If need be, seals can be used for assault. Seals’ teeth are no worse than dogs, their claws are 8-10 centimetres long.’

Some seals are trained to check pipelines for leaks by carrying cameras on their backs so repairs can be carried out swiftly 

Others are seen as useful in spotting for potential terrorist attacks and coached in how to ‘destroy an enemy’, possibly attacking explosives to a warship.

While some of them are trained to detect ‘alien objects in the water’, including mine-hunting, or to take tools to divers carrying out underwater repairs.

‘Today it is often said that it is better to work with robots. But in many areas animals are a lot better value than any device,’ said Dr Zaytsev.

The US Navy is known to use sea animals such as dolphins to search for missing people at sea and to hunt for mines (Pictured: Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class and dolphin handler Elizabeth Jache pouring water on her dolphin)

The US Navy is known to use sea animals such as dolphins to search for missing people at sea and to hunt for mines (Pictured: Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class and dolphin handler Elizabeth Jache pouring water on her dolphin)

The US Navy is known to use sea animals such as dolphins to search for missing people at sea and to hunt for mines (Pictured: Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class and dolphin handler Elizabeth Jache pouring water on her dolphin)

Dolphins are also enlisted to find and lift objects from the sea floor (Pictured: Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Aaron Nutt assigned to the Navy Marine Mammals program as a dolphin handler)

Dolphins are also enlisted to find and lift objects from the sea floor (Pictured: Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Aaron Nutt assigned to the Navy Marine Mammals program as a dolphin handler)

Dolphins are also enlisted to find and lift objects from the sea floor (Pictured: Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Aaron Nutt assigned to the Navy Marine Mammals program as a dolphin handler)

The US Navy is known to use sea animals to search for missing people at sea, to hunt for mines, and find and lift objects from the sea floor.

Vladimir Putin has re-opened old Soviet military bases in the Arctic has he claims the right to exploit vast energy resources in the polar region.

During the Cold War, scientists also worked with dolphins and whales seeking to deploy them against the West.

Some were trained to attack enemy divers with special knives or pistols fixed to their heads.

When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, a deployment of underwater mammals in the Black Sea included 62 bottle-nose dolphins, six sea lions, around ten seals and two white whales.

Vitaly Varganov, a former director of the Sevastopol military dolphinarium, said: ‘We kept the animals working, six dolphins were on duty every day.

‘They scanned the territory and in case of danger they pushed an alarm pedal.

‘During training dolphins showed a nearly 100 per cent success rate.’ 

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Source: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6971661/Norwegian-Fishermen-discover-beluga-whale-trained-Russian-Navy-wearing-harness.html

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