OSLO: A white beluga whale is loitering off the coast of northern Norway, and that is starting to worry Norwegians, who are afraid it might not be able to fend for itself. Also, it might be a spy.The whale first showed up a few weeks ago when it swam up to Joar Hesten’s fishing boat. Hesten got in touch with the authorities, who were interested, because Hesten was off the northern coast and whales don’t often show up there this time of the year. “We asked him if he could just try to have it around his boat until we arrived,” Joergen Ree Wiig, an inspector at the Norwegian Directorate of Fisheries, said on Tuesday. That wasn’t hard, it turned out. “The whale was really friendly, came up to us and started opening its mouth, checking us out,” Wiig said. “We were trying to talk to it. It was really friendly. It was seeking contact with us.” Possibly it was trying to tell them something. Possibly it was trying to say ‘Get this thing off me!’, because the whale was wearing a harness strapped around its neck, and written on the harness strap was “Equipment St. Petersburg”. Hesten and Wigg obliged, and then they turned the harness over to the police because the nearest St. Petersburg to Norway is in Russia. The thought occurred to people that they might have some kind of Russian spy whale on their hands. The harness held a camera mount, so the thought was not entirely outlandish. On the other hand, it didn’t entirely make sense, either. The lettering on the harness was in English, not Russian, and used the Roman alphabet, not Cyrillic. It seemed unlikely the Russians wanted to make it easier for Westerners to identify any of their lost spy whales.