Submarine alarm rings in Dalsfjord

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A Norwegian website specializing in defense issues published video Thursday night showing what’s believed to be a submarine sailing out of a fjord in Western Norway. Website aldrimer.no raised the possibility it was a Russian submarine and that Norwegian defense forces lacked capacity to investigate it.

The video, which clearly shows a submarine periscope sticking up from calm waters inside the Dalsfjord, was taken by local resident Frank Vik, who was driving home from Førde on March 21, during the Easter holiday week. Vik spotted a V-shaped formation on the water being created by the periscope and he pulled over to see it more closely and take pictures.

‘Suspicious object’
Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) also reported on the submarine sighting Thursday night, and that neither Norwegian nor allied submarines were believed to be in the area at the time. Aldrimer.no has questioned whether a Russian submarine entered Norwegian waters, while defense officials say they can’t answer and won’t even confirm it was a submarine. They still characterize the sighting as a “suspicious object.”

Vik reported what he saw and filmed to local police, who in turn reported it to defense officials. Sheriff Åre Løset confirmed to NRK that Vik was a credible witness and that he’d seen the video himself. “We sent the information on to the defense department and asked them to evaluate it and follow up,” Løset told NRK.

Aldrimer.no reported that Vik’s observation was sent to the duty officer at the defense department’s operative headquarters (Forsvarets operative hovedkvarter, FOH) at Reitan outside Bodø. When Kjetil Stormark of aldrimer.no later questioned defense officials about the incident, they initially professed no knowledge of it.

Critical documentary
Stormark has since produced a mini-documentary about the sighting. Former submarine officers cited in the documentary who also saw the video were convinced a submarine had been in the fjord, with one saying he knew a periscope when he saw one.

Nor did Norway’s former defense chief, Sverre Diesen, doubt that a foreign submarine could compromise Norwegian territory. “It has happened, and there is reason to believe that it still happens,” Diesen told NRK. “It’s not improbable that submarines from foreign countries want to become familiar with these waters.”

He also urged local residents to continue reporting suspicious sightings, even though it was often difficult to get a definitive answer as to whether they have spotted foreign submarines.

Vik, who’s featured in the documentary, is quoted as saying he was surprised the defense officials didn’t actively follow up on the sighting, or send Norwegian forces to investigate. Aldrimer.no, which has been critical of Norwegian military capacity in the past, suggests in the documentary that defense officials lacked resources to follow up.

Aldrimer.no published the documentary on YouTube Thursday night (in Norwegian):

newsinenglish.no/Nina Berglund

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