• Sweden's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Military heads into 'new phase' in sub search

The Local · 22 Oct 2014, 09:06

Published: 22 Oct 2014 09:06 GMT+02:00

The press conference was held in Berga on a rainy and grey day by the water. 
 
The communications director of the Armed Forces, Erik Lagersten, told reporters that "the operation was going into a new phase".
 
When pressed to explain what he meant, Lagersten was extremely delicate with his choice of words, saying that the hunt was so far being carried out "according to plan".
 

Many journalists were left baffled after the mysterious "new phase". Photo: TT
 
He refused to confirm or deny a series of questions from journalists on the scene. 
 
"I cannot comment on an ongoing operation," he repeated. 
 
Johanne Hildebrandt, a fellow at The Royal Swedish Academy of War Sciences, told The Local that the choice of words suggested the Armed Forces were toning down operations. 
 
"I think they're stepping down but they don't want to say it," she said, adding that the real question was why the public doesn't know more about the other times submarines have violated Swedish territory.
 

The search has reached the sixth day. Photo: TT
 
Search teams resumed their large-scale hunt for the suspected submarine on Wednesday morning after spending the night watching and listening to other ships and vessels in the area.
 
A few hours ahead of the briefing, officer Dag Enander told news agency TT that there were no plans to downsize the operation in the Baltic Sea:
 
"We are moving forward with the same scale and orientation. We'll drive on as before, business as usual".
 
Battleships, minesweepers, helicopters and more than 200 troops have been scouring an area about 30 to 60 kilometres from the Swedish capital after a "man-made" object was spotted.
 
But some defence experts have cast doubt on the chances of a quick discovery.
 
Jörgen Elfving, a former lieutenant colonel and military expert, told Swedish network SVT:
 
"This is an operation that takes time. It needs patience".
 
He added: "What is going on is like looking for a needle in a haystack".
 
But Deputy Operation Commander Anders Grenstad insisted that the Swedish military had time on its side.
 
"We can keep going for a long while if we so desire," he told SVT.
 
 
The military is six days into its search. Photo: TT
 
Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday, Supreme Commander General Sverker Göranson said that the most important goal of the operation was to "send a very clear signal that Sweden and its armed forces are acting and are ready to act when we think this kind of activity is violating our borders." 
 
"Our aim now is to force whatever it is up to the surface... with armed force, if necessary," he added.
   
He added that submarines are "extremely difficult" to find, and that Sweden has never succeeded in the past when it came to tracking them down.
 
"And no one else has either," he added. 
 
During more than a decade of hunting Russian U-boats in the 1980s and early nineties, Sweden never succeeded in capturing one, except in 1981 when the U137 ran aground several miles from one of Sweden's largest naval bases, triggering an embarrassing diplomatic stand-off for Russia.
   
Göranson said there had been more than 100 reported sightings of a suspect vessel from members of the public in the past day or so.
 
"We're still getting more reports, and I want to underline the fact that we're happy about this," Göranson added. 
Story continues below…
 
"You mustn't forget that there's a great deal of work to be done with such a flood of reports. We have to analyze and confirm them all."Sweden's military has now been out on the hunt for six days, with the operation moving "across the archipelago" on Tuesday.
 
Jesper Tengroth, press officer for the Swedish military, told The Local that the focus had switched from just the southern islands on Monday.
 
 

Sweden's military is out searching for the suspect vessel. Photo: TT
 
Out in the Stockholm archipelago, The Local met Bosse Linden, a 54-year-old water taxi driver from Vaxholm who also served in the Swedish navy for 25 years.
 
"Things like this have happened before but I am not so scared. I think there is something out there, but the archipelago is really big," he said. 
 
He believes that Russia could be "playing a game of hide and seek" or simply making use of the broad stretch of "special water" which he describes as a dream location for people who want to learn how to drive boats or navigate submarines.
 
"If you learn how to navigate a submarine here then you will be the best," he told The Local.
 
"I don’t think it is a war mission. I don't think someone is going to take over. But some people are scared," he added.
 
In another development, Sweden's Prime Minister Stefan Löfven said on Thursday that his government planned to increase spending on defence.

"We agree on a broad basis between many parties in Sweden in the Swedish parliament that we need to increase our capacity, meaning that we need to put more resources into defence," he said on a visit to the Estonian capital Tallinn.

For more news from Sweden, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Video
Heckler humbles Swedish golf champion with perfect putt
Henrik Stenson met his match in the final practice for the Ryder Cup. Photo: Charlie Riedel/AP/TT

Well that wasn't supposed to happen...

Presented by Invest Stockholm
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges

It’s no secret that Stockholm is serious about sustainability. We took a look at how the city's emerging startups are tackling global challenges, making the world a better place.

Warm weather melts H&M profits
An H&M store in central Stockholm. Photo: Maja Suslin/TT

A warm autumn may be good news for Swedes, but it was bad news for Sweden's biggest clothing brand.

Rail delays after heavy winds batter Sweden
The weather is expected to clear up. Photo: Anders Wiklund/TT

Commuters were advised to take it easy in traffic on Friday, after harsh winds toppled trees across roads and railways across Sweden.

Volvo recalls 127,000 cars worldwide
Volvo is recalling 127,000 cars. Photo: Björn Lindgren/TT

Do you own a Volvo? Read this.

The Local Recipes
Swedish food: How to make sweetened lingonberries
Sweetened lingonberries. Photo: John Duxbury/Swedish Food

Possibly the most Swedish food there is. Food writer John Duxbury shares his recipe with The Local's readers.

Opinion
Sweden bad, Norway good, Trump better? I'm confused
Photo: Jon Olav Nesvold/NTB scanpix/TT & Kristin Streff/AP/TT

Sweden is neither a socialist paradise nor an internationalist hell. The truth, argues The Local's reporter Lee Roden, lies somewhere in the middle.

Sweden loses fastest internet crown
Good luck untangling those. Photo: Magnus Hjalmarson Neideman /SvD /TT

Worse still, the new European king is Norway.

Where to see the Northern Lights in Sweden
The Northern Lights pictured in Sweden on Wednesday night. Photo: Norrsken Sverige

An unusually high level of solar activity means the spectacle could be visible from rare spots in the country.

The Local List
These are the brands Swedes love the most
What brands do the Swedes love the most? Photo: Per Groth/Magnus Hjalmarson Neideman/SvD/Pontus Lundahl/TT

Revealed: Swedes' top-20 favourite brands.

Sponsored Article
‘I view the world in a different way now’
Gallery
People-watching: September 28th
Sponsored Article
Top 7 tips to help you learn Swedish
National
Aliens' sex lives? Why Swedes want Nasa to send a condom into space
Analysis & Opinion
'If Sweden really wants startups, drop the red tape on migration'
Blog updates

27 September

Cutting your nose …. (The Diplomatic Dispatch) »

"Last week, Jeremy Browne, the Special Representative for the City of London, visited Sweden. Jeremy was…" READ »

 

7 September

Svensk or svenska? (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hejsan! My inbox is full of questions :-). Here’s one about when to use “svensk” and…" READ »

 
 
 
Sponsored Article
Expat finances in Sweden: the Common Reporting Standard
Gallery
Property of the week: Gotland
Sponsored Article
Let's Talk: a personal Swedish language tutor in your pocket
National
Trump an 'embarrassment' Springsteen tells Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: September 23rd-25th
Politics
Russian Sweden Democrat aide resigns over suspect deal
Sponsored Article
Retiring abroad: ensuring your health is covered
National
Muslim teacher leaves job after not shaking male colleague's hand
Sponsored Article
'Creating a sense of home': Collective living in Stockholm
Travel
Why we adore autumn in Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: September 21st
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
National
Stockholmers hunt killer badger after attack on neighbourhood hipster cat
Sponsored Article
Gran Canaria: 'So much more than beaches'
The Local Voices
Why this Russian developer is committed to helping refugees - with tech
National
Six key points in Sweden's budget plan
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
The Local Voices
How a Swedish name finally made recruiters notice this Iranian's CV
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Gallery
Property of the week: Luleå
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
Gallery
People-watching: September 16th-18th
Sponsored Article
Retiring abroad: ensuring your health is covered
Culture
Why Swedish TV has given these kids' trucks a sex swap
Sponsored Article
'There was no future for me in Turkey'
National
TIMELINE: Everything you need to know about the Julian Assange case
Sponsored Article
7 reasons you should join Sweden’s ’a-kassa’
Gallery
People-watching: September 14th
Sponsored Article
‘Extremism can't be defeated on the battlefield alone’
Politics
Why Sweden is putting troops on holiday dream island Gotland
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
The Local Voices
'What I mean when I say: I came here to blow myself up'
Society
VIDEO: Are Swedes that unfriendly?
Features
INTERVIEW: How Arthur the jungle dog opened hearts and minds
Gallery
Property of the week: Smögen, Västra Götaland
Society
Sweden's ancient forest tongue Elfdalian fights for survival
The Local Voices
'Whenever I apply for jobs I’m treated like an unwanted stranger'
The Local Voices
Is Swedish bosses' ignorance keeping refugees out of jobs?
3,006
jobs available