View Full Version : Norway's Surprise Nuclear Catch

Davie Tait
6th March 2009, 20:29

Monday, Aug. 02, 1976

For three months the Norwegian trawler Sjovik had found good fishing in the Barents Sea. But then, as it was trawling as usual for arctic cod in international waters, the 1,000-ton ship netted a catch that made waves last week in the naval intelligence services of both Norway and the Soviet Union.

As the Sjevik was steaming slowly 1˝ nautical miles outside the Soviet fishing boundary north of the Russian naval base at Murmansk, the cable between the ship and the net it was dragging along the ocean floor 450 ft. below suddenly started rushing off its reel. "At first," reported Sjevik Skipper Ivar Hamnen when he returned to Norway last week, "we thought our net had been snared by the gear of another fishing vessel. But no other ship was trawling in the vicinity. Our ship began moving backward, pulled by an invisible force that was stronger than our engine. Then, of course, we realized what was happening: we had caught a submarine."

After the trawler had been towed backward for about a mile, a periscope shot out of the water just astern of it. Then the submarine surfaced, black and wet, but with no identification marks whatsoever. Skipper Hamnen and his 40 crewmen reckoned that it was a Soviet sub, but tried shouting in Norwegian anyway to the seamen who began appearing on its deck. There was no response. Said Hamnen: "I guess they weren't too eager to talk with us. After all, it's pretty dumb when a modern submarine gets caught up in a fish net. It's supposed to carry instruments that can spot a trawler, cables and all, and avoid it in good time."

Norwegian navy headquarters in Oslo confirmed last week that Skipper Hamnen's big catch was a Soviet sub: a 360-ft. nuclear-powered hunter-killer of the "November" class. Trouble-ridden from the time they were first commissioned in 1958, November-class subs have rarely shown their periscopes outside Soviet waters since one sank off the English coast in 1970. Besides, the submarines—famed for their noisiness—are absurdly easy to detect. When they dive, observes one Norwegian navy officer, they sound "like the flushing of an antique toilet." The sub involved in the Sjevik incident was not even given a chance to make a rackety descent. After it had dragged the Norwegian ship backward and then finally surfaced, crewmen scrambled to cut away the trawler's cable from the disabled sub's bow, where it had become entangled. Then the Soviet skipper churned off on the surface toward Murmansk without so much as a wave to the astonished Norwegians.

I think "squeeky" bottom time for the skipper of that trawler !!!

6th March 2009, 20:56
In this day and age it is very scary that these events still happen.
With all the technology the modern warships and subs have I can`t think why they still do.
Why, only a few weeks ago two submarines bumped into eachother in the middle of the atlantic. `Bl@@dy scary if you ask me.

Davie Tait
6th March 2009, 21:18
That was 33 years ago though coaster but it still happens. The 2 SSBN's that hit in January well they are designed to be undetectable by other nations hunter killer subs and I guess this shows that they are very very good at being "invisible" as the Vanguard has the latest version of our advanced sonar ( one ex-rn mate of mine said sub sonar in the 80's could hear a whale fart at over 100 miles !!! )