DEEP SEA COVER

Alleged Russian Spy Whale Won’t Leave Norway

The unusually friendly beluga whale that showed up in the Norwegian port city of Hammerfest about a week ago has yet to leave. Apart from the whale’s uncharacteristic behavior of allowing people to pet its nose and repeatedly harassing boats, fisherman in the port noticed it was also sporting a strange harness wrapped around its body. Upon further inspection, an inscription on the harness was found to read: “Equipment St. Petersburg.” Fisherman handed the harness over to Norway’s special police security agency (PST). Researchers say the harness could have been used to carry weapons or cameras, igniting new speculation about a long-suspected secret Russian sea mammal spy program. The Russian Defense Ministry has denied the existence of such a program, but published an ad in 2016 seeking three male and two female bottlenose dolphins for $24,000. Norwegian officials have yet to determine what to do with the alleged defector.