Could Russian Navy be to blame for seasickness?
UNUSUAL bouts of seasickness experienced while sailing off the Caithness coast last week could be blamed on the Russian Navy deploying a bizarre new weapon.
Fisherman George Carter from Lybster says he saw the ships last Monday afternoon while out on a hill at Clyth.
Intelligence reports say they may be carrying weapons that induce vomiting and even hallucinations.
“I saw them on the horizon, a bit beyond the wind farm. I reckon they were about 20 miles off the coast,” he told the Courier.
The Royal Navy warship HMS Defender shadowed the Russian naval task group, which was comprised of the frigate Admiral Gorshkov, tug Nicolay Chiker, supply ship Elbrus and tanker Kama.
The Gorshkov is reportedly fitted with Russia’s Filin 5P-42 device – a visual optical interference weapon which can cause “dizziness, nausea and feelings of disorientation”.
It is said that the weapon fires a beam similar to a strobe light which can affect the target’s eyesight.
The weapon can make it harder for enemies to see at night and during tests about half of volunteers reported feeling dizzy, nauseous and disoriented, while 20 per cent of the volunteers who were targeted by the weapon said that they experienced hallucinations.
Mr Carter believed the vessels were sheltering from storms and, despite media reports, there was “nothing particularly unusual” or sinister about the activities.
“I saw two of the ships and they were quite entitled to be there as it’s international waters,” he added.
“I think the ships were probably monitored from the moment they left Murmansk and all the talk on the news about seeing them off is a lot of rubbish.”
Nevertheless, the Royal Navy (RN) issued a statement in which it said a Type 45 destroyer, HMS Defender, was deployed to “keep watch” on the frigate Admiral Gorshkov and three auxiliary ships as they passed close to UK territorial waters.
The minister for the Armed Forces, Mark Lancaster, said: “The Royal Navy is always standing ready to defend the UK.”
HMS Defender left Newcastle on Saturday, March 2, and headed up to the Moray Firth to meet the Russian task group.
Commander Richard Hewitt, of HMS Defender, said: “The security of the seas around our coastline remains crucial to our national interests.
“Escorting the Admiral Gorshkov has demonstrated the Royal Navy’s enduring commitment to protecting our home waters and readiness to undertake such tasking whenever it’s required.”
HMS Defender is equipped with a Wildcat helicopter, a Sea Viper missile system and a Sampson radar system on top of the ship’s main mast.
The Royal Navy confirmed that the Russian naval task group was escorted south over the following few days until it passed through the English Channel.
Russian media later claimed their frigate had actually conducted “air defence and counter sabotage exercises” in the Moray Firth north of RAF Lossiemouth, before continuing on its journey to the Mediterranean.