Swedish daily Svenska Dagbladet is reporting that Swedish authorities are currently searching for a damaged Russian submarine in the Stockholm archipelago.
Swedish authorities launched their search after a mayday call between a transmitter in the archipelago and a transmitter in the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad was detected which indicates that a damaged Russian submarine could be in Swedish waters.
Swedish intelligence had picked up a Russian radio transmission on an emergency frequency already on October 16. The Svenska Dagbladet report goes on to say that 14 hours later, a submarine had been sighted off the island of Kanholmsfjärden, about 50km from the center of Stockholm.
Swedish authorities report that a Russian oil tanker may be attempting to reach the submarine. The NS Concord which is owned and operated by a shipping company in Novorossiysk, was spotted circling an area in the Baltic Sea east of the Stockholm archipelago. Svenska Dagbladet sources have said that they “are aware of the ship and have an eye on it.”
According to the report, the Swedish Navy ramped up its efforts in the Stockholm archipelago which suggests that there is a damaged submarine in the archipelago. Minesweeper and other ships have been deployed including the HMS Visby and Sundsvall within Swedish coastal areas near Stockholm.
Swedish defence critics have noted that Sweden’s reduced armed forces no longer have the critical capability to search for submarines using helicopters in its vast coastal regions. Sweden will not regain that capability until 2018, and no longer has any of its once numerous and highly competent special forces to protect coastal regions. With escalating Russian military activity in the Baltic Sea – including serial air space violations over the past months- Sweden must look towards increasing its defensive capabilities. The Swedish military has been so severely downsized in the past decade that even the large eastern island of Gotland has been left completely demilitarized years.
UPDATE: On Sunday, Swedish media reported that a man dressed in black, carrying a backpack was sighted and photographed near an island where a submarine was reported as being sighted.