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Home NATIONALRussian navy hampers movement of Aranda research vessel: SYKE
Sun, 12 Oct, 2014 12:07:31 AM
Ftimes - Xinhua Report, Oct. 12
According to SYKE, the first incident took place in the beginning of August and the second one in early September.
SYKE said both the incidents took place in the east of Gotland.
The vessel was carrying out a research expedition for the Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute (SMHI).
In both instances, the Russian navy tried to prevent the research vessel from accessing sampling sites in the international waters east of Gotland.
In the first incident that took place on August 2, a Russian warship twice contacted Aranda through radio, asking it to change its course. Aranda complied with the directive following the first radio call, but on the second call Aranda informed that it would stop at the sampling site. The crew of the research vessel also sighted a submarine in the location.
Russian military helicopter pictured from the deck of Aranda on September 2, 2014. Photo – Lehtikuva.
The second incident happened a month later on September 2. First a Russian helicopter approached Aranda a couple of times. Afterwards, a Russian warship took a course directly towards Aranda’s stern and passed very close to the research vessel.
The Swedish SMHI researchers and the Finnish crew aboard the research vessel termed the situation threatening.
SYKE said detailed information about the incidents was received in the last week. The course of events has been confirmed by multiple sources, said SYKE.
News agency Xinhua adds: Finnish Defence Minister Carl Haglund on Saturday said the reasons for disturbing the operations of the Finnish research vessel have to be investigated.
He described the incidents as deplorable. He said Russian officials should be asked to give an explanation to avoid similar incidents in the future.
The commanding officer of the Finnish Gulf of Finland maritime defence area, Markus Aarnio, told the national broadcaster Yle that the incidents could possibly be connected with Russian submarine tests in the area.
The officer did not believe the events were related to the Russian violations of Finnish and Swedish air space in August and September.
The Finnish Environmental Institute is an administrative body under the Ministry of the Environment. Aranda was built in 1989. It is a Finnish governmental ship run by a commercial operator VG Shipping and a civilian crew. The vessel has had a key role in the research work on the state of the Baltic Sea.
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