The submarine Sælen

Sælen is the last submarine in the Danish navy but has a dramatic story

The submarine Sælen, former Uthaug, was a German build submarine from the mid sixties.. It was build together with two other submarines Tumleren og Springeren and was bought from Norway. Here they had been a part of the "Koppen" class. Due to a shipwreck close to the island Hesselø it first becme active submarine in the Danish navy back in 1993. After a alterration with isolation and installation of a cooling system it serviced in the Mediterranian.

During the 3rd Golf war (operation IRAQI FREEDOM) Sælen primarily had assignments in the Strait of Hormuz and took part in the Iraq war.

The Danish government decided to phase out the submarines and the division was closed on Sælen and Springeren.

Springeren is now situated at the Langelandsfort and Sælen is situated as a party of the ship on Holmen laying at Bradbænken.

After 25 years in the Norwegian navy Sælen became a Danish submarine back in 1990

Sælen was a part of the Danish navy until the 10th of October 1990. During a towing the 4th of December 1990 the submarine sank and was filled with water.It was raised to the surface, but it took 2 years with repairings before it could be used again in the navy.

In war the 8 torpedo tubes had a massive striking power. Sælen and the other submarines also could put military scuba divers on the coasts of the enemy. In peace times the submarines was a strong weapon in inteligence assignments. 

When the cold war ended, Sælen was among others a part of Nato's anti terror operations in Mediterranian. Hidden under the surface it tracked suspicious ships. It continued with operations in the Golf during the war against Saddam Hussein and his regime back in 2003.

During a new defense agreement in 2004 the submarines era for a 100 years was ended. The 21st of December 2004 Sælen ended it's carrer in the Danish navy. With the political defense agreement of 2004 the nearly 100 years story of the submarines ended, and Sælen was closed down the 21st. of December 2004.

The submarine Sælen

Today Sælen is just a look alike as it ended its career..

When onboard the 24 sailers and officers had a very narrow space when they workd on weeks long operations. They lived closed together and it demanded a special patience to do service onboard the submarines.

When onboard Sælen visitors can use the periscope which has a fantastic view over the harbour of Copenhagen.

Weapon systems and sensors in the Tumleren class

The longest submarine operations inDenmark is over now

When the submarine Sælen returned to its homebase in Frederikshavn 1st of July 2003 it was the end of the longest Danish submarine operations any Danish submarine had been at. SÆLEN was also the first Danish submarine that was send to war for war operations. During its service it was the first Danish submarine sailing through the Suez Canal.

The submarine is hoisted aboard the German heavy lift ship Grietje in Bahjrain. Foto: Mate 1st Class Kevin H. Tierney, US Navy

A glimpse of an oil platform in the North Sea throuh the periscope during diving going south. Foto: Søværnet

First Danish submarine sailing through the Suez Canal

Sælen, that had been operating in the Mediterranian since summer the year before connected with Natos anti terror operations Active Endeavour left during the week the Turkey naval base Aksaz. Then it – as the first Danish submarine ever, during the weekend 21st-22nd of February 2003 sailed through the Suez Canal. During its passage of the canal the little Danish submarine was followed by US warships.

After the passage of the Suez Canal Sælen was going to the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean for the Arabic Golf. The Trip would last 2 to 3 weeks . By arrival at the Golf area Sælen was going to operate and receive logistic intelligence in a harbour area that also was used by the US fleet together with other nations in the area.


Situated in the Golf

Sælen arrived as planned to Bahrain Friday the 14th of March 2003 by the way the same date as the corvet Olfert Fischer was leaving naval base Korsør heading for the Mediterranian.

After a short stay in Bahrain for change of crew, getting supplies and cleaning, the submarine left for operations in the Arabic Golf. This first operation was expected to last three weeks.

The submarine was constantly under operative command from the Admiral of the Danish naval command, though the direct operative assignments was changed to the American Fleets first command in the area.

The view from the tower during Sælens passage through the Suez Canal February 2003. Foto: Søværnetebruary 2003.

The submarine Sælen anno 2021