Russian ships in Tórshavn suspected of espionage

19.04.2023 - 11:01
Russian ships in Tórshavn suspected of espionage
Russian fishing ships are suspected of espionage in Norway. One of these is currently docking in Tórshavn
Russian trawler Lira, suspected of carrying out espionage in Norway, is docking in Tórshavn. Archive photo: Marine Traffic

A Russian fishing vessel currently docking in Tórshavn is suspected of carrying out espionage in Norwegian territory.

This is one of many Russian fishing vessels that are involved in espionage in Norwegian territory.

So concludes a comprehensive new documentary produced by the national broadcasting corporations in Norway, Sweden, Finland and Denmark.

The journalists claim to have found special military communication equipment on board some of the ships in question.

 >> SEE ALSO Fisheries deal with Russia renewed

One of the ships carrying such equipment is the trawler Lira, which is docking in Tórshavn at the time of writing.

According to, Lira arrived in Tórshavn on Monday at noon.

The documentary reveals that sister ships Ester and Lira sailed directly from the Faroes to Kirkenes, Norway, in early November.

The two ships were greeted by police officers, who wanted to board the ships to carry out routine inspections.

Everything looked normal until the officers discovered a closed door inside Lira.

 >> SEE ALSO Denmark’s view on Faroese trade with Russia

Having unlocked the door, the officers found a man sitting next to what looked like old communications equipment.

The officers took some photos sent them to the Danish Intelligence Agency for further investigation.

A few hours later, identical equipment was found in Lira’s sister ship Ester, which had also arrived directly from the Faroes.

“This equipment is capable of sending and receiving military messages, which indicates that Russia may be using the fishing vessels to support its military activities,” says Johan Roaldsnes, who heads the Norwegian security police PST.

He adds that there is sufficient evidence showing that the Russian fishing ships spend an unusual amount of time sailing in territories that are of great geopolitical importance to Norway.


Melkart-5 currently sits on a slipway in Tórshavn

Another ship mentioned in the documentary is Russian trawler Melkart-5, which currently sits on a slipway in Tórshavn.

This trawler has been associated with sabotage of communications cables between Norway and Svalbard.

No comments yet from Faroese authorities

Faroese authorities have not yet commented on the news. KvF has contacted the Prime Minister for a comment but has yet to respond.

Foreign minister Høgni Hoydal and justice minister Bjarni Kárason Petersen say they are looking into the matter and will issue statements later.

Watch the documentary here (in Norwegian).


Read the Faroese versions of this article here and here.

More Faroese News in English.

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