‘Whaledimir’ in Norwegian waters back in 2019. Photo: Jørgen Ree Wiig / Norwegian Directorate of Fisheries

The "spy whale” is back

The well known ‘Whaledimir’ beluga whale has been detected in the waters near Oslo.
May 24, 2023



This time the arctic waters whale has reached the densely populated area near Oslo. On Tuesday, May 24, the Norwegian Directorate of Fisheries, that has management responsibility for marine mammals, called for people not to interact with the mammal in order not to cause it any harm.  

The beluga ‘Whaledimir’ (Hvaldimir in Norwegian) was first spotted by local fisherman Joar Hesten on Norway’s Barents Sea coast in April 2019 in Måsøy municipality and has since been traveling along the Norwegian coast. 

Fisherman Joar Hesten on Norway’s Barents Sea coast in April 2019 interacting with ‘Whaledimir’. Photo: Jørgen Ree Wiig / Fiskeridirektoratet 


When it was first spotted, the whale was wearing a harness that some took for equipment to potentially attach a GoPro camera to. That prompted different speculations about the whales origin - one of the versions was that the sea mammal possibly escaped from one of Russia’s naval bases in the Murmansk region and thus could be “trained to spy” on Norway. 

The Directorate of Fisheries reports that it has rejected multiple inquiries from various organisations to catch the whale and shut it up in a fjord or keep it in captivity in aquariums. 

“We have always communicated that the whale is a free-living animal and we see no reason to capture it and put it behind barriers,” Directorate stated and added that the authorities will monitor the whale’s movements: “We hope it will turn around when it reaches the end of the Oslofjord”, Directorate says. 

The name ‘Whaledimir’, that has a clear resemblance of the Russian male name Vladimir, was chosen for the mammal by Norwegian public when the national broadcaster NRK made a poll asking their audience to name the sea creature. 





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