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Coast Guard Tracking Suspected Russian Spy Vessel Near US Coast

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The U.S. Coast Guard has been tracking a suspected Russian spy ship transiting near Hawaii for weeks as tensions between the U.S. and Russia remain at a heightened state, the Coast Guard revealed Tuesday.

“In recent weeks, the U.S. Coast Guard has continued to monitor a Russian vessel, believed to be an intelligence gathering ship, off the coast of the Hawaiian Islands,” the Coast Guard said in a news release.

While foreign surveillance vessels entering waters encompassed in the U.S. self-described economic exclusive zone (EEZ) is not unusual, the Coast Guard said it continues to monitor the situation closely in a statement.

“The Coast Guard continues to coordinate with Department of Defense partners, providing updates to foreign vessel movements and activities and to appropriately meet presence with presence to encourage international maritime norms,” the Coast Guard continued. 

“While foreign military vessels may transit freely through the U.S. economic exclusive zone (EEZ), as per customary international laws, foreign-flagged military vessels have often been observed operating and loitering within Coast Guard District Fourteen’s area of response,” the release stated.

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The foreign ministry in Moscow on Tuesday accused the West, led by the U.S., of pursuing a “proxy war” against Russia, manifesting through billions in weapons and humanitarian assistance to Ukraine, sanctions on the Russian economy and vocal condemnation of President Vladimir Putin’s “unnecessary” war.

In 2020, a Russian surveillance vessel “aggressively approached” a U.S. guided missile destroyer ship in the North Arabian Sea and nearly caused an accident, the U.S. Navy said. The vessel had failed to acknowledge multiple warning signals from the American vessel.

Another Russian spy ship was spotted off the U.S. southeastern coast in 2019 operating in what U.S. officials described as an “unsafe manner,” CNN reported. The Viktor Leonov had dimmed lighting in low visibility efforts and did not respond to pings from commercial vessels in the area, increasing the risk of collision with other ships.

“The Coast Guard operates in accordance with international laws of the sea to ensure all nations can do the same without fear or contest,” Cmdr. Dave Milne, chief of Coast Guard External Affairs, said in the statement Tuesday. “This is especially critical to secure freedom of movement and navigation throughout the Blue Pacific.”

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The Russian Embassy in the U.S. did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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