Russian navy lets slip its kamikaze dolphins of war

The Russian navy is selling dolphins they trained to blow up enemy ships. The mammals were taught to carry mines that explode on contact, approach a vessel from below and rub against the keel.

The Russian navy is selling dolphins they trained to blow up enemy ships. The mammals were taught to carry mines that explode on contact, approach a vessel from below and rub against the keel.

"Those dolphins could even distinguish between the sound of the propeller of foreign submarine and a Soviet one," said Viktor Baranets, who worked for 10 years in the general headquarters of the Soviet armed forces.

Dolphin training started 30 years ago on the Black Sea at Balaclava, near Sebastopol in the Crimea. How many were in the project is not clear but half-a-dozen survived in a military laboratory. Further development stopped with the break-up of the Soviet Union in 1991.

The kamikaze dolphins are being sold as part of the rundown in Russian forces, under a decree signed by Vladimir Putin, the Russian Prime Minister. There is a general disposal of surplus military equipment, old trucks, tanks, armoured personnel carriers and bulldozers, which the impoverished Russian military no longer needs or can maintain.

"We now have only the pitiful remains of what we used to have in the Black Sea dolphinarium," said Mr Baranets. "We tried to keep the couples."

Vladimir Kozir, a correspondent of the military newspaper Krasnaya Zvezda, said the training started after information that the United States was investigating the use of sea animals for military purposes. Soviet and American navies had been impressed with the ability of dolphins to perform tricks in circuses. Mr Kozir says some dolphins were released into the Black Sea after the 1991 break-up.

Yesterday the naval department of the Russian Defence Ministry refused to confirm or deny training dolphins. But Igor Dygalo, the navy spokesman, said: "I don't know anything about dolphins, but even if we had such dolphins how can we sell them?"

The widespread violence of Russian business rivalries means that the dolphins could be used as an assassination weapon against businessmen who have bought boats.

"Can you imagine selling dolphins, which have had special training, to a businessman who has enemies?" said Mr Dygalo. "He can attach a bomb to a dolphin and direct him to anyone or anything he wants to get rid of."

In fact, the dolphins, trained for so long to carry out their lone missions, may have a more prosaic fate. Mr Baranets said he suspects the dolphins may not be sold to potentially murderous businessmen but, instead, be presented to water circuses.

He says: "There is one at Sochi [on the Black Sea coast] where you drop your wedding ring into the water and the dolphins easily find it."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Voices
Lucerne’s Hotel Château Gütsch, one of the lots in our Homeless Veterans appeal charity auction
charity appeal
Sport
Raheem Sterling of Liverpool celebrates scoring the opening goal
footballLIVE: Follow all the latest from tonight's Capital One quarter-finals
Life and Style
A woman walks by a pandal art installation entitled 'Mars Mission' with the figure of an astronaut during the Durga Puja festival in Calcutta, India
techHow we’ll investigate the existence of, and maybe move in with, our alien neighbours
Arts and Entertainment
Tony Hughes (James Nesbitt) after his son Olly disappeared on a family holiday in France
tv
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
News
people

Jo from Northern Ireland was less than impressed by Russell Brand's attempt to stage a publicity stunt

Arts and Entertainment
Sir Ian McKellen tempts the Cookie Monster
tvSir Ian McKellen joins the Cookie Monster for a lesson on temptation
Arts and Entertainment
Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels ride again in Dumb and Dumber To
filmReview: Dumb And Dumber To was a really stupid idea
News
i100
Life and Style
tech
Life and Style
Sebastian Siemiatkowski is the 33-year-old co-founder and CEO of Klarna, which provides a simple way for people to buy things online
tech
Voices
Jimmy Mubenga died after being restrained on an aircraft by G4S escorts
voicesJonathan Cox: Tragedy of Jimmy Mubenga highlights lack of dignity shown to migrants
News
Not quite what they were expecting
news

When teaching the meaning of Christmas backfires

News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Angelina Jolie and Sony Pictures co-chairman Amy Pascal at the Golden Globes in 2011
film
Extras
indybest
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst

£25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established media firm based in Surrey is ...

Ashdown Group: Java Developer - Hertfordshire - £47,000 + bonus + benefits

£40000 - £470000 per annum + bonus: Ashdown Group: Java Developer / J2EE Devel...

Ashdown Group: Head of Finance - Financial Director - London - £70,000

£70000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Head of Finance - Financial Controller - Fina...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Executive - Nationwide - OTE £65,000

£30000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This small technology business ...

Day In a Page

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Scandi crush: Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

Th Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
La Famille Bélier is being touted as this year's Amelie - so why are many in the deaf community outraged by it?

Deaf community outraged by La Famille Bélier

The new film tells the story of a deaf-mute farming family and is being touted as this year's Amelie
Calls for a military mental health 'quality mark'

Homeless Veterans campaign

Expert calls for military mental health 'quality mark'
Racton Man: Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman

Meet Racton Man

Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman
Garden Bridge: St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters

Garden Bridge

St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters
Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament: An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel

Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament

An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel
Joint Enterprise: The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice

Joint Enterprise

The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice
Freud and Eros: Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum: Objects of Desire

Freud and Eros

Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum
France's Front National and the fear of a ‘gay lobby’ around Marine Le Pen

Front National fear of ‘gay lobby’

Marine Le Pen appoints Sébastien Chenu as cultural adviser
'Enhanced interrogation techniques?' When language is distorted to hide state crimes

Robert Fisk on the CIA 'torture report'

Once again language is distorted in order to hide US state wrongdoing
Radio 1’s new chart host must placate the Swifties and Azaleans

Radio 1 to mediate between the Swifties and Azaleans

New chart host Clara Amfo must placate pop's fan armies
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'It's life, and not the Forces, that gets you'

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'It's life, and not the Forces, that gets you'

The head of Veterans Aid on how his charity is changing perceptions of ex-servicemen and women in need
Torture: It didn't work then, it doesn't work now

Torture: It didn't work then, it doesn't work now

Its use is always wrong and, despite CIA justifications post 9/11, the information obtained from it is invariably tainted, argues Patrick Cockburn
Rebranding Christmas: More public bodies are refusing to give the festival its name for fear of causing offence

Rebranding Christmas

More public bodies are refusing to give the festival its name for fear of causing offence. They are missing the point, and we all need to grow up