Swedish peace group uses gay sailor sign to fend off Russian submarines


Click to follow
The Independent Online

A Swedish peace group has lowered an innovative broadcasting device into the Baltic Sea, which is intended to work as a peaceful way of stopping the increasing number of suspected Russian submarine incursions into Swedish seas.

The Swedish Peace and Arbitration Society (SPAS) has created the 'The Singing Sailor Underwater Defence System' - a small waterproof box with a neon sign of a gyrating topless sailor wearing a pair of skimpy briefs, which transmits the words "this way if you are gay" in morse code through the water.

Below the sailor are neon letters which read "Welcome to Sweden - gay since 1944". 1944 was the year that homosexuality was legalised in Sweden, 23 years before it was made legal in the UK.

SPAS, the world's oldest peace organisation, says the 'Singing Sailor' is a much more cost-effective method of protecting against Russian submarines than the Swedish navy's ongoing series of unsuccessful patrols and searches.

The Singing Sailor was lowered into the sea off the Stockholm Archipelago on 27 April

There have been multiple reports of Russian submarines infiltrating Swedish waters have in the past year. A sighting of a suspected Russian submarine near the coast of the Stockholm archipelago  in October 2014 prompted a week long, £1.7 million search. The operation was Sweden's biggest military operation since the end of the Cold War.

SPAS lowered the Singing Sailor into the sea off the Stockholm Archipelago on 27 April. There have been no reports of submarine sightings since.

SPAS hopes the cheeky device will scare off any vessels from Russia, a nation which has much less tolerant views of homosexuality than Sweden. A 2013 survey found that 74 per cent of Russians thought homosexuality should not be accepted by society.

The Singing Sailor broadcasts "this way if you are gay" in morse code to any submarines that may be in the area.

In 2013, a law was unanimously passed in the Russian State Duma that forbade the distribution of "propaganda" to children that supports "non-traditional sexual relationships". Many have been arrested and fined for breaking the law.

Anna Ek, Chairman of SPAS, said: "If military action and weapons had worked as conflict resolution methods, there would have been peace in the world long ago."

She urged the Swedish government to abandon the £793 million increase in military spending it announced in April, and instead use the funds to pursue peaceful co-operation and international development instead.

Members of the Swedish Peace and Arbitration Society lower the Singing Sailor into the Baltic Sea

Ek also invited any Russian submarine crew members who hear or see the Singing Sailor to join her group at the Pride Parade in Stockholm on 1 August.

SPAS has a long history of promoting peace - they assisted in the peaceful resolution of the dissolution of the union between Sweden and Norway in 1905, and supporters created an 80,000 person human chain between the US and Society embassies in Stockholm in 1983.

They also monitor the Swedish arms manufacturing and exporting industries. Although it is a neutral nation, Sweden is the world's 12th largest arms exporter.