A craft that was perceived to be a submarine was observed this summer inside the Stockholm archipelago, the Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter reported. The Swedish Armed Forces has investigated the incident, but classified the results.
The perceived submarine was seen by three instructors from a sailing school, who were putting out buoys on June 28 of this year off northern Lidingö near a facility belonging to the Swedish Sports Confederation. The Swedish Armed Forces didn't undertake any activity in that area that day.
"I saw bubbles form in the water, it happened behind the boat so I thought it was a roaring motor," an instructor told Dagens Nyheter about the discovery.
The instructors themselves didn't report the event though. The Armed Forces were informed by an officer who knows one of the instructors and learned of their observation. On July 4, two Armed Forces officers went to the same place with one of the instructors.
"We can confirm that we have received information about an alleged observation in this area at the specified time. I can also confirm that we have spoken to the informant," Jesper Tengroth, press officer at the Swedish Defense Forces Headquarters, told Dagens Nyheter.
Ola Oskarsson, an expert on underwater surveys, said the photographic documentation of the purported submarine was "very good."
"These are the best pictures of what might be a suspected submarine that I've ever seen," he told the newspaper.
A subsequent survey showed "visible imprints" of a submarine ten weeks after the observation. Commander Nils-Ove Jansson, now retired, reported that according to his assessment, this was a "probable submarine" that could be classified as number two on a military scale, where one stands for "confirmed submarine" and five for "non-submarine."
Sweden has had an impressive record of discovering "Russian submarines," most of them non-existent though. In October 1981, a Soviet S-363 submarine ran aground near a Swedish naval base in Karlskrona, undiscovered by Swedish naval radars and found by local fishermen. Since then, "Russian subs" have been discovered on a regular basis, only to be later proved to be fish shoals, minks or even Sweden's own vessels. The series of painfully futile hunts for "Russian submarines" culminated in a massive 2014 operation in the Stockholm archipelago, which continued for several weeks and cost Swedish taxpayers $2 million.
Given this, Swedes' somewhat skeptical reaction to the new "discovery" was unsurprising.
"So, the parasites in the Swedish fleet are out to get more funds again," Maria Engström tweeted, to which another user replied "And certainly the sub is a Russian one."
"I've solved the mystery for you completely free of charge. Clearly, it's a sauna raft," another user chipped in, posting a video of a "submarine-like" vessel and venturing that nobody could take the possibility of a submarine hovering around Lidingö, an island with many affluent residents, seriously.
"Was there a suspicious submarine seen in the Stockholm archipelago? No, probably merely a torpedo from the underworld," yet another user wrote.