Beluga whale spotted in Norwegian waters in mystery harness

A group of Norwegian marine experts were alerted to a beluga whale with a harness attached to its body yesterday (April 29).

The Beluga whale was found by marine biologist Jorgen Wiig and his colleagues Freddy Norvoll and Yngve Larsen in waters near Finnmark after a group of fishermen contacted the authorities.

Wiig and his colleagues were diverted from there initial route, which was to "to do fisheries control" far north of Norway, as the whale "had some kind of strange thing attached to itself."

The fisherman who reported the incident managed to keep the mammal under surveillance for two hours until Wiig and his crew arrived.

Wiig explained the encounter in detail: "When we arrived we got our disentangling gear ready and went out in our small boat.

"We managed to lure the whale towards us with the help of some cod fillet fished by our captain Freddy Norvoll.

"The whale was totally habituated to humans and we could touch it and talk to it.

"We thought the whale could be Russian, but we don't know so many Russian words so we tried to just talk Norwegian to it.

"I tried to lure the whale towards the boat and Yngve tried to unclip the harness (it was attached with clips) but we didn't quite have the reach.

"The fishermen were still around since the whale was quite interested in their boat for some reason."

The crew eventually managed to retrieve the harness that was attached to the whale after a brief struggle.

Wiig later added: "I believe the whale comes from Murmansk where the Russian Navy has been known to train belugas to conduct military operations before - like guarding naval bases, helping divers, find lost equipment.

"We have been in contact with whale researchers which I know and they have been in contact with Russian researchers who say it likely is a whale that has been trained by the Russian Navy in Murmansk.

"During the Cold War Russia also trained marine mammals to deliver explosives and kill people.

"Thankfully, this was not the case for this whale."