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FS Marjata in Kirkenes.JPG
Marjata in Kirkenes, Norway in 2011
Name: Marjata
Owner: Norwegian Defence Research Establishment
Operator: Norwegian Intelligence Service
Ordered: 1991
Builder: Langsten shipyard, Aker Yards, Tomrefjord, Norway
Yard number: 160
Launched: 18 December 1992
Commissioned: 1995
Homeport: Karljohansvern, Horten
Status: In service
General characteristics
Type: Military intelligence ship (ELINT)
Displacement: 7,560 tons (full load)
Length: 81.5 m (267 ft 5 in)
Beam: 40 m (131 ft 3 in)
Draught: 6 m (19 ft 8 in)
Propulsion: 2 × diesel engines and 2 × gas turbines
Speed: 15 knots (28 km/h; 17 mph)
Aviation facilities: Helipad

FS Marjata is a purpose-built electronic intelligence collection vessel (ELINT). She is the third ship that bears the name Marjata[note 1], all of which have been used for military intelligence purposes by the Norwegian Armed Forces. She is owned by the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment, but operated by the Norwegian Intelligence Service, and is considered to be one of the most advanced ships of her kind in the world. Her main role is surveillance of the Russian Northern fleet`s activity in the Barents Sea, but is constructed for operations all over the world. She operates in international waters close to the Russian border. Marjata officially serves as a research ship for the Norwegian Intelligence Service.

The first (1966–75) and second (1976–95) ships entered service earlier during the Cold War.


It is a Ramform type ship-design with an unusual hull shape. The shape of the hull is characteristic with a sharp bow, sinusoidal waterline, a descending rear body that ends in a straight cut-off stern where the ship has the largest width. Because of the very large width of the ship it will have an operational metacentric height of about 16 meters. The ship can continue to operate even with large parts of the interior under the waterline, when the ship's exact trimming is uncritical. The same goes for cargo shift, if the ship is exposed to icing or large amounts of water on deck. This makes Marjata a very stable sensor platform, she is also built with a very low noise signature, so that the ship itself does not interfere with the onboard sensors. Marjata also has large internal bay for computing and analyzing of reconnaissance data. The ramform type ships are often used for seismological surveys of the seabed. Marjata is well suited for operation in arctic conditions for prolonged periods of time.[2][3]

Marjata (iii) was replaced by a new and larger ship in 2016.[4] The new ship, the fourth Marjata, was docked at the Naval Weapons Station on the York River in the United States for the summer of 2015.

The newest Marjata docked at the Naval Weapons Station on the York River.

Marjata and the Kursk disaster[edit]

The various ships that have borne the name Marjata have always been looked upon with disapproval by the Russian and former Soviet, authorities. During and after the raising of the sunken Russian submarine K-141 Kursk, Norwegian authorities were criticized by the Russian side because the ship had been too aggressive and would have disrupted the work. The ship was also in the area when the accident occurred. It was located 19 kilometres (12 mi) away when it registered an explosion that was interpreted as a "soft explosion". A little while later an earthquake measuring device picked up a second explosion which is thought to have occurred when Kursk hit the seabed and 5-7 torpedo warheads detonated. This secondary event was estimated to be equal to two tons of TNT.[5][6] After the incident, claims emerged that Marjata had not observed any abnormalities, but the correctness of these claims has been doubted by several military sources.[7] During the salvage of Kursk, there was also considerable disagreement about Marjata's position and actions.[8][9]

In general Russian authorities think the ship operates too close to Russian waters.[10]


  1. ^ The name has no meaning in Norwegian. It was created for the first Marjata by the head of Norwegian Navy intelligence, Alf Martens Meyer, from the initials of himself (his nickname "Mamen") and his family - wife Annie, three sons Roy, Jan and Alf, as well as daughters-in-law Turid and Anne [1]


  1. ^ Hans, Svend Einar (16 February 2009). "Larvik-hvalbåten som ble spionskip". Østlands-Posten (in Norwegian). Larvik. Retrieved 20 July 2016.
  2. ^ "The research-ship "Marjata"". Norwegian Armed Forces (in Norwegian). 23 January 2002. Archived from the original on 17 June 2009. Retrieved 20 July 2016.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  3. ^ "Marjata Intelligence collection ship". Retrieved 27 February 2010.
  4. ^ "Barentsobserver". Barentsobserver.
  5. ^ "Norway, Russia differ on accident". The Hindu. 23 August 2000. Retrieved 27 February 2010.
  6. ^ "A blast. A deluge. Then death in a metal tomb". The Guardian. 20 August 2000. Retrieved 27 February 2010.
  7. ^ "Marjata did not observe the explosion". Dagbladet (in Norwegian). 15 August 2000. Retrieved 27 February 2010.
  8. ^ "Complaints about Norwegian presence". Aftenposten (in Norwegian). 12 June 2002. Retrieved 27 February 2010.
  9. ^ "Oslo is perplexed at the accusations that the Norwegian Air Force implements dangerous maneuvers close to the Kursk". 31 July 2001. Retrieved 27 February 2010.
  10. ^ "Icy between Norway and Russia". Dagbladet (in Norwegian). 25 April 2001. Retrieved 27 February 2010.

External links[edit]