Russian subs mapping the North-Atlantic

Jan Mayen

With the aim to map potential petroleum resources, Russian submarines participated in a research operation in the waters between the Norwegian Island of Jan Mayen and Iceland in June. According to the Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet, two of the submarines were nuclear powered.


The submarines participating in the research mapping of the seabed were in both Icelandic, Norwegian and international waters in June this year.  Interviewed by Dagbladet, Head of Icelandic Defence Agency Ms Ellisif Tinna Vigdisdottir, said the submarines were northeast of Iceland.  The Defense Agency’s website writes that the submarines were sailing in the North-Atlantic from The Faroe Islands in the south to Svalbard area in the north.

Neither the Norwegian nor Icelandic Foreign Ministries have officially reacted or made any statements against the Russian research mapping of potential oil- and gas resources in their economical zone. wrote in May about Russia’s newly adopted National Security Strategy that highlights the energy challenges. The strategy says that the Barents Sea and the Arctic are among the regions of upcoming international competition for energy resources.

According to the article in Dagbladet, two submarines are participating in the research activities while the two nuclear powered submarines had support tasks. The identities of the submarines are not known.

In June, wrote that Russia’s newest special purpose submarine, B-90 named Sarov was operating in northern waters. During the Cold War, Russia’s Northern fleet operated several special purpose submarines aimed for underwater spy operations. It is not officially known if any of them are still in operation.