Russian Spy Whale Still Hanging Around Norway

A beluga whale that some believe was trained as a Russian spy does not seem in a hurry to leave the waters off Norway.

Fishermen off the coast of Norway found the whale last week with a suspicious harness and a camera mount attached to it. The whale was tame and allowed humans to touch it. Days later, the whale is still hanging around, seemingly with no plans to head back to where it came from — which some suspect is a Russian facility where mammals are trained to eavesdrop.

A beluga whale seen as it swims next to a fishing boat before Norwegian fishermen removed the tight harness on April 26, 2019. The harness strap features a mount for an action camera, says “Equipment St. Petersburg” which has prompted speculation that the animal may have escaped from a Russian military facility. (Joergen Ree Wiig/Norwegian Direcorate of Fisheries Sea Surveillance Unit via AP)

“The whale was really friendly and came up to us and started opening its mouth, and just checking us out,” Norwegian Directorate of Fisheries official Jorgen Ree Wiig told NBC News. “We were trying to talk to it.”

Wiig added that it’s “really untypical” for a whale to seek attention from humans as this one is doing.

Some experts think the whale might be a trained Russian asset. One of the clues to that theory was “Equipment St Petersburg” emblazoned on the harness.

Wiig told NBC the whale might also be from a shuttered facility in Siberia that used to trap whales and then sell them.