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Military not interested in investigating sunken sub

Published torsdag 3 mars 2011 kl 12.19
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(5:29 min)
A military helicopter looking for foreign submarines in Swedish waters.

The Swedish Armed Forces say they have no immediate need to investige the wreckage of a Soviet style whiskey submarine which was found by a marine survey company off the coast of Gotland in 2009. A strange decision according to former supreme commander Bengt Gustafsson.

The U boat was found by the swedish marine survey company Marin Mätteknik during wreck investigations for a film project for National Geographics in conjunction with Deep Sea productions. Pictures are believed to show a 76 metre long whiskey u-boat which was commonly used by the Soviets and ex warsaw pact members during the cold war, although from the pictures , the company states that it is impossible to correctly identify the wreck or why it sank.

The boat was discovered on the bottom of the sea bed in 2009, south of the Swedish coast of gotland . MMT rexamined the wreck in 2010.  

It's only in the past fortnight that news of the find has been passed on to the Swedish defence establishment.

Speaking to Swedish Radio's Ekot his morning, Bo Rask chief of staff at the Naval Tactical Command said that by looking at the pictures there was no pressing need for immediate investigation and that the boat could have been on its way to a scrap yard.

"It has not been sunk by any kind of weapon, we know that. The pictures we have seen show no signs of that,"

The decision to leave the matter in the pending file has been questioned by the former Supreme Commander of the Swedish Armed Forces Bengt Gustafsson, who's written extensively on the Swedish U boat hunts in the 80's and believes the wreck is important for research and debate .

"It is of interest if we find a foreign submarine that is damaged by warfare. Sweden was the only country to use weapons against submarines that violated Swedish waters in the 1980s and 90s," he said.

During the 1980's the Swedish Navy carried out large-scale submarine hunts to stop what was thought to be a major SOVIET intrusion of Swedish waters, although some of the submarines were said to be NATO vessels, and there has been claims over the years that non-aligned Sweden was secretly holding joint submarine war games with NATO during the 60's, 70's and 80's.

The most famous incident happened in October 1981, when the Russian Submarine W-137 carrying nuclear weapons accidently navigated on an underwater rock about 2 km from the Swedish main Naval Base at Karlskrona. The boat was stuck on the rock for nearly ten days.

Our journalism is based on credibility and impartiality. Swedish Radio is independent and not affiliated to any political, religious, financial, public or private interests.
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