By Tim Binnall
Norwegian fishermen were left scratching their heads after they encountered a harness-clad beluga whale that some suspect could have been weaponized by the Russian government. The weird incident reportedly took place last week when the crews of various ships operating off the coast of Norway noticed that their vessels were being approached by the creature which was either trying to get their attention or attempting to interfere with their work by yanking on ropes dangling over the sides of the boat. Eventually, one group of fishermen managed to get a good look at the mischievous sea mammal and were astounded to see that it was wearing a harness.
A concerned and curious fisherman subsequently swam over to the creature and removed the strange gear, which appeared to be designed to hold a camera. Upon closer inspection, they also saw that it bore the words "Equipment of St. Petersburg." Given the apparent origin of the harness and how it seemingly did not serve any scientific purpose, marine experts believe that the whale may have been the subject of some kind of Russian project aimed at using such creatures as surveillance or battlefield assets.
"If this comes from Russia and there is great reason to believe it," mused Martin Biuw, "then it is not Russian scientists, but rather the navy that has done this." While truly a fantastic scenario, it's not altogether unlikely as the former Soviet Union was known to have been developing a marine mammal program during the Cold War and so it's entirely possible that such research may have carried over to contemporary Russia or have been revived in recent years. Whether the whale was purposely sent out to harass the fishing vessels or it escaped from Russian captivity and was simply looking to be fed by the fishermen is unknown.
Although not quite as ominous as sharks with laser beams attached to their heads, the possibly weaponized whale has raised concerns among Norwegian officials who are not too keen on the idea of their waters being home to such creatures that may be trained to commit nefarious deeds. Meanwhile, marine experts also expressed fear about the fate of this particular creature, since it likely came from an environment where it relied on humans for food and is now left to seek sustenance on its own. Whether that challenge was worth having the annoying harness removed from its back is a question that only the whale can answer.