Wednesday 21 August 2019

Harnessed whale found by Norwegian fisherman 'could have been trained by Russian navy' - experts

Beluga whale
Beluga whale
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

A white whale found wearing a harness and harassing Norwegian fishing boats last week could have been trained by the Russian navy, marine experts have said.

The whale is understood to have been acting strangely and was actively attempting to get at ropes and straps on the boats, with experts believing it may have been used as part of a Russian special ops programme with underwater mammals.

The harness, which was removed from the whale, had 'equipment of St Petersburgh' written inside it.

Fisherman, Joar Hesten told Norwegian broadcaster NRK that the whale seemed used to human contact.

“We were going to put out yarn when we saw a whale swimming between the boats. It came over to us, and as it approached, we saw that it had some sort of harness on it," Mr Hesten said.

Martin Biuw of Norway's Institute of Marine Research said “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."

While marine biology professor at the Arctic University of Norway, Audun Rikardsen also told NRK that Russian researchers said they had nothing to do with them.

“They tell me that most likely is the Russian navy in Murmansk," he said.

"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," he added.

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