Cold War-style spy games return to melting Arctic

Russia will take what is theirs.

Who pays for this heightened tension?



This image made available by the Norwegian Military on Thursday, June 5, 2014 shows a Norwegian vessel passing through the Bosporus in Istanbul Turkey, on March 2, 2014. The mysterious ship the size of a large passenger ferry left a Romanian wharf, glided through the narrow Bosporus that separates Europe and Asia, and plotted a course toward Scandinavia. About a month later, at the fenced-in headquarters of Norway's military intelligence service, the country's spy chief disclosed its identity. It was a $250 million spy ship, tentatively named Marjata, that will be equipped with sensors and other technology to snoop on Russia's activities in the Arctic beginning in 2016. Photo: Norwegian Military, AP

Seattle PI
By Karl Ritter
Associated Press
11 June 2014

OSLO, Norway (AP) — In early March, a mysterious ship the size of a large passenger ferry left a Romanian wharf, glided through the narrow Bosporus that separates Europe and Asia, and plotted a course toward Scandinavia.

About a month later, at the fenced-in headquarters of Norway's military intelligence service, the country's spy chief disclosed its identity. It was a $250 million spy ship, tentatively named Marjata, that will be equipped with sensors and other technology to snoop on Russia's activities in the Arctic beginning in 2016.

"There is a demand from our political leadership to describe what is going on in this region," Lt. Gen. Kjell Grandhagen said in an interview at the hilltop surveillance base outside Oslo. Of particular interest, he said, are Russia's ambitions to develop oil and gas and shipping opportunities in the Arctic — and the "military aspects in terms of being able to defend that."

As climate change eats away at the sea ice covering the North Pole, Arctic nations are fishing for secrets in East-West spy games echoing Cold War rivalries. The military dimension remains important, but this time there's an economic aspect, too: getting a leg up in the competition for potential oil and gas resources, along with newly accessible shipping lanes and fishing waters.

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