Norway patrolling Russia’s military activity in Arctic with new intelligence vessel

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The new "Marjata" at port in Kirkenes. (Atle Staalesen/The Independent Barents Observer)
The new “Marjata” at port in Kirkenes. (Atle Staalesen/The Independent Barents Observer)
Marjata” (the forth intelligence vessel in a row with the same name) will sail northern waters to keep track of Russian military activity in the North.

This weekend, the Barents Observer reported that submarines with Russia’s Northern fleet have completed more combat drills during the winter season than anytime before in Post-Soviet history.

Like the former “Marjata” the new vessel will have Kirkenes, on Norway’s eastern coast of Finnmark, as her homeport.

With a construction cost of NOK 1,5 billion (€160 million) the new intelligence vessel is one of the most expensive military investments in Norway in modern times.

High North of strategic importance for Norway
Military police guards the harbour where “Marjata” made port call. (Atle Staalesen/The Independent Barents Observer)
Military police guards the harbour where “Marjata” made port call. (Atle Staalesen/The Independent Barents Observer)

Morten Haga Lunde, Chief of Norway’s military intelligence, said earlier this winter that the new “Marjata” represents renewal and innovation in many ways.

“But also a tradition through continuation of our presence in the Barents Sea.”

The Lieutenant General underlines that the decision to build a new intelligence vessel was very important goven today’s security policy situation.

“Control with the development in the High North is of strategic importance for Norway.”

“The Parliament’s decision to invest in a new intelligence vessel is an important signal that Norwegian presence in the north is of high priority.”

Sharp increase in Russian submarine activities

Russia is currently renewing its fleet if nuclear powered submarines sailing for the Northern Fleet. Last year the first 4th generation muti-purpose submarine of the Yasen-class made port call to her homeport in Zapadnaya Litsa, only 55 kilometres east of Russia’s border to Norway.

Also new ballistic missile submarines of the Borey-class sails the Barents Sea loaded with nuclear weapons. It is believed that one of Marajata’s missions is to keep track of Russian submarines and monitor naval exercises.

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: Canada’s defence review and the Arctic, Eye on the Arctic

Denmark:  Nordics to step up security cooperation on perceived Russian threat, Yle News

Finland: Finland confirms 6th Russian airspace violation in just over a year, Yle News

Norway:  Norwegian military faces major cuts, The Independent Barents Observer

Russia:  New Russian spy ship to keep tabs on Norway, Barents Observer

Sweden:  New security landscape in the Arctic, Radio Sweden

United States: U.S. general says Alaska military cuts not final without Arctic plan, Alaska Public Radio Network

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Thomas Nilsen, The Independent Barents Observer

Thomas Nilsen, The Independent Barents Observer

For more news from the Barents region visit The Independent Barents Observer.

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