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No Confirmation of Submarine Sighting

Finland's Coastguard says that so far it has been unable to confirm a possible violation of Finnish territorial waters by a submarine near the Åland Islands. A technical review failed to turn up any evidence from recordings made by underwater listening devices or coastal radar.

In an interview given to the paper Ålandstidningen, the captain of a ferry travelling from Sweden to the Finnish Åland islands stated that his ship spotted one or two submarines. The captain saw an object the size of a submarine on the radar. An observation turret and three radar antennae were also visible on the surface of the water.

It was 300 metres from the ferry, which had to change course rapidly before the object disappeared below the surface. The incident took place 2.5 nautical miles south of the Gisslan lighthouse near Eckerö.

Coastguards were notified and a patrol boat was sent out to investigate. A helicopter later joined in the search.

The nationality of the vessel remains a mystery; Russia, Sweden and NATO says it was not one of their submarines. If the suspect object is confirmed to be a submarine, the incident would not only be a serious near-miss but also a gross violation of territorial waters.

Defense Minister Seppo Kääriäisen said Wednesday that investigations will continue.

YLE Radio News, YLE24