Spain: The Barbate USO (1980)
Spain: Strange Undersea Tracks in Barbate, Cadiz (1980)
From the files of GEIFO (Grupo Español de Investigación del Fenómeno Ovni)
Case No.: 003
Case Name: Strange Undersea Tracks in Barbate, Cadiz (27 June 1980)
Event Description: The story goes back to 27 June 1980 in waters off the locality of Barbate, Cádiz. Ildefonso, a diver with over 15 years’ experience and a local resident, was diving near a tuna trap when he became aware of a series of strange tracks on the bottom of the sea. These marks ran parallel, with a separation of two to three meters between them, following a pre-set and perfectly well-defined path, as the obstacles in this path had been clearly avoided or rounded, causing no damage to the fishing tackle deployed by the tuna trap at the moment.
The story drew media attention under the title “Tracks Beneath the Sea” (Diario de Cádiz) based on a report filed by journalist Juan Jose Benitez, claiming the discovery of track marks resembling those of a vehicle with treads.
Having become aware of the event, we got in touch with the diver, who ratified the events published. He told us that the tracks had been made that very morning, and had they been older, they would have been washed away by the sea.
The tracks were found a depth of 40 meters, approximately. Was a vehicle with crawler tracks operating at a depth of 40 meters?
In November 1983 there appeared a story in the Revista General de Marina (General Navy Review) under the “Weapons” section, discussing a Soviet submarine vehicle being employed on espionage missions on the coasts of Norway and Sweden. This story can be compared to our case involving the crawler tracks. After studying all the available information, it emerged that we were facing a similar case.
On 18 October 1984, we made our suspicions known to the Hon. Admiral of the General Staff of the Navy, in the event that the crawler tracks in question had any connection to some sort of espionage activity in the Straits of Cádiz.
On 20 November, the Diario de Cadiz (11.20.1984) published a story with the title “Soviet Minisubs at Work in the Straits of Gibraltar for Over 10 Years”, seemingly confirming the events.
The Ministry of Defense sent out two agents of the Intelligence Division who contacted GEIFO. One of them pretended to be a member of our group to continue his investigations.
The matter ended with the confirmation – by these agents – that real Soviet espionage was taking place in this area and in the Huelva area.
The Soviets did not deny the facts but stated that they weren’t engaged in espionage activity. Rather, they were looking for the remains of Atlantis (?)
Points to be Considered:
- The tracks match those of a submarine vehicle with a crawler track system.
Evaluation: Soviet espionage activity in the Straits of Gibraltar, confirmed by the Intelligence Service to GEIFO.
References and Sources: Report by the GEIFO group, Diario de Cadiz (11.20.1984) pg. 15, “Provincial” section; letters to the Admiral of the General Staff of the Navy on 18 October 1984; Revista General de Marina No. 724, 1983, “Weapons” Section.
(Translation (c) 2012, S. Corrales, IHU. Special thanks to Angel Rodriguez, GEIFO)