The unknown foreign vessel the Swedish Navy searched for near Stockholm last autumn was actually a “workboat,” Sweden's Armed Forces have now said.
The story of the suspected submarine spotted in the Stockholm archipelago a week after Sweden's extensive hunt for Russian underwater vessels last autumn has been hitting headlines in all media.
Swedish Rear Admiral Anders Grenstad said that what was thought to be a vessel or a foreign submarine was actually just a “workboat.”
“Analysis revealed that the photograph taken in Stockholm’s inner archipelago was of a smaller boat,” Grenstad said. He added that it was a white plastic boat named the “Time Bandit.”
The Swedish Navy changed the wording from “probable submarine” to “non-submarine” when referring to the reconnaissance mission connected to the unidentified vessel spotted in the Stockholm archipelago.
The photo was taken by the retired naval officer in late October, shortly after the Swedish military engaged in a weeklong search for what it suspected was a Russian submarine illegally lurking in Swedish waters.
The search, reportedly prompted by a Russian-language radio transmission intercepted on an emergency channel, was neutral Sweden’s largest military escalation since the Cold War, the Reuters news agency said at the time.
The massive hunt was used by the Swedish Defense Ministry to justify a six billion kronor ($696 million) hike in defense spending between 2016 and 2020.
Meanwhile, a statement from Russian Foreign Ministry said that Russia hopes the Swedish military and civil authorities will be soberer in assessing the security situation in the Baltic Sea region.
"The hunt for the Russian submarine, unprecedented in scale, thus turned out to be nothing more than a waste of money of Swedish taxpayers," the ministry said.
"It was apparently done for the sake of anti-Russian hysteria and to propagandize the myth of a ‘military threat’ from the East," it said.