A massive search operation has engaged the Sweden’s military for the last three days. Hundreds of sailors, divers and pilots have been scouring the waters off Stockholm in search of "foreign underwater activity".
According to the Swedish military, they have intercepted a radio transmission in Russian on an emergency frequency and it has been believed that a mysterious Russian submarine has stricken in the waters of Sweden.
The operation started late on Friday. In a Cold-War style, when neutral Sweden regularly hunted for Soviet spy submarines in the Baltic Sea, the Swedish mobilised service personnel, minesweepers, helicopters and the anti-submarine corvette HMS Visby (K31).
Captain Jonas Wikström said:
“We still consider the information we received as very trustworthy. I, as head of operations, have therefore decided to increase the number of units in the area.”
Image: Rex Features
Yesterday, on a press conference of the Swedish Navy, a grainy photograph of the mysterious "foreign vessel" was shown. Rear Admiral Anders Grenstad explained that the picture had been taken by a credible source and it had been the third sighting so far.
"This is not ours, it's a foreign vessel. He saw something that was on the surface and after he took the picture it disappeared again," he added.
An amateur photo of the object released by Swedish Defence: Swedish Defence/AFP/Getty Images
He denied that this was a hunting but an intelligence operation saying:
"This is not a submarine hunt, using weapons to combat an opponent. Later there can be a situation where it becomes a submarine hunt. We're not there now."
A spokesman from the Russian defence ministry denied the information for their vessel involved in a military operation.
"Russian Navy ships and submarines are fulfilling their duties in the world ocean waters in accordance with the plan. There has been and there are no extraordinary, let alone emergency, situations involving Russian warships," was said.
Last night, the Russian research vessel Professor Logachev was tracked heading from St. Petersburg towards Sweden. It was followed by three Dutch warships. The transponder of Professor Logachev was turned off yesterday.
Bruce Jones, from IHS-Jane's suggested that there was a possibility for a small submarine to have run aground.
"They might have been wanting to look under the highly-advanced ships which the Swedes are operating, to steal their technology.
"Or they could have been on a specific military mission – although the Cold War days of dropping people off from submarines are gone," he added.
According to him, the the submarine was likely to be short range and very small, hence the need for a mother vessel.
"The type of sub would only be known at the highest echelons of naval intelligence," he said.
The intelligence analyst Joakim von Braun, said there was a chance that the submarine's soldiers had abandoned it and swum ashore. They could have hidden and waiting to be taken. If his theory is right, the submarine is "equipped with explosives so that a it can be timed to detonate 24 hours later".