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The Russian warship Murmansk

When the church bells rang in Christmas Eve in 1994, the inhabitants of Sørvær were given a really unique Christmas gift. The wreck of the Russian battleship "Murmansk" came drifting right into the village!


Murmansk
Copyright © 2003, Hasvik Hotel AS

The boat should be pulled to India where it was to be taken apart, but was lost in bad weather outside the island of Senja (in the county of Troms) when the steel ropes attached to wreck broke. It drifted without crew or captain in rough weather for several days, and neither the coast guard nor the Norwegian Navy managed to gain control over the ghost ship…Ironically, the wreck ended up as a neighbour to the NATO radar station in Sørvær!

Now the wreck lies in shallow water close to a steep, rocky cliff, just some metres from the picturesque coastal village of Sorvær. The rusty bunch of metal with a length of 211 metres and a weight of 17.000 tons has become an unwanted landmark for the small coastal community with its 300-400 inhabitants.

The wreck lies in a depth of about 15 meters, the keel has sunken long into the sea bed. The wreck has helped secure Sørvær a regular appearance in the media. The failed efforts to move the ship to deeper water as well as the fear that the wreck may still hide up to 400 tons of oil have been of interest for the media. In July 2001, news spread that a company specialised in the disassembling of ship wrecks, the largest of its kind in the whole of Norway, had planned to take a closer look at the "Murmansk".


The "Murmansk" once upon a time…

1800 russian sailors used to be onboard of this war-machine, and still a touch of the Cold War era hangs over the wreck. Much of the ship's facilities with old instruments and instructions in Russian are still visible, almost untouched by the nick of time. The commando bridge shows a striking resemblance to Hitler's bunker in Berlin and should secure that the people in there could survive almost any kind of attack.

Today, the "Murmansk" ghost ship still lies along the rocky shoreline. The wreck has become a very special "attraction" Hasvik kommune gladly could live without. The only comfort is that winter storms and ocean currents, within the next decade or two, will remove most of the parts above the surface.