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THE OFFICIAL VIEW ON SEA MONSTERS

Thursday February 24th, 2011
THE OFFICIAL VIEW ON SEA MONSTERS

According to a response to a Freedom of Information request the Navy has no set policy for reporting unusual sightings at sea. Sailors may note strange phenomena in their ship’s logs but are not required to do so and even if they do there is no central archive devoted to sea monsters and the like. Sightings reported by the public to the Navy are passed on to the UK Hydrographic Office.

The FOI inquiry was raised by a marine biologist who wanted to know if the MoD hold records of ''abnormally large or dangerous sea monsters hundreds of metres under the sea that had not been revealed to the public.”
The official reply read as follows: ''The RN (Royal Navy), and MoD in general, does not maintain any form of central repository of information purely devoted to sea monsters... Personnel might be inclined to record unusual sightings in ship's logs but there is, as far as we know, no actual requirement for them to do so, and it would be beyond the resource constraints of an FOI request to check every line of every RN log book for any such references since 2005... However, the RN does invite people to report sightings of marine mammals, and it's possible this could include unusual sightings... These are forwarded to the UK Hydrographic Office at Taunton.''
Expert in unexplained phenomena, Dr David Clarke said that during the 19th Century the Navy did show and interest in sea monsters and the National Archives in Kew contain several historic Royal Navy files about strange sightings. An 1830 report that was sent to the Admiralty in London by the captain of the Rob Roy describes a ''great thundering big sea snake'' measuring about 129ft long spotted by his crew the remote island of St Helena in the South Atlantic. In 1857 there is another similar sighting reported again near St Helena.
Dr Clarke said: ''At this time they were exploring areas of the world where they thought there may well have been such creatures living... I have looked at some of the ship's logs in the National Archives, and there are instructions about what people should record... Any unusual observations of any kind should be recorded in the ship's log.''
He suggested the MoD would argue that ‘it was only funded for defence and not to investigate strange phenomena.’ And added, ''They should be recording those kind of things, but I don't think anybody is recording them... 'It's short-sightedness – but that's bureaucracy.”
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