Watch: Spy Ship Floating Off Coast of Hawaii, But It's Not Flying an American Flag
A Russian spy ship has been loitering in the Pacific Ocean near Hawaii, with some speculation linking the vessel’s presence to a possible U.S. missile defense test.
According to a Coast Guard news release, the vessel has been prowling for several weeks.
“The U.S. Coast Guard is currently monitoring the Russian vessel operating in the vicinity of Hawaii,” Cmdr. Dave Milne, chief of External Affairs, said in last week’s release. “As part of our daily operations, we track all vessels in the Pacific area through surface and air assets and joint agency capabilities.
“The Coast Guard operates in accordance with international laws of the sea to ensure all nations can do the same without fear or contest. This is especially critical to secure freedom of movement and navigation throughout the Blue Pacific.”
According to Popular Mechanics, the ship is the Kareliya, which is traveling with a supply ship. The outlet suggested that the ship’s purpose might be to collect intelligence on the U.S. military’s missile defense system, noting that when the ship was off the coast of Hawaii in 2021, a missile defense test occurred at the same time.
The Hawaiian island of Kauai is home to the Pacific Missile Range Facility Barking Sands, where past missile defense tests have been conducted.
“We believe it’s an intelligence collection vessel. And so far we have not witnessed any aggressive posture or any movements that are outside the norms of international maritime norms, international law,” Milne told KHON-TV.
Russian intelligence ship KARELIYA SSV535 continues to operate near Hawaii. The Project 864 Vishnaya-class AGI is seen in this 11 Jan US Coast Guard video being refueled from a Russian ship via the astern method. Ship has often been seen in Hawaiian waters monitoring US movements pic.twitter.com/UlM8pTwyeb
— Chris Cavas (@CavasShips) January 18, 2023
The Russian ship has roamed waters around Hawaii in the past, he said.
Retired Marine Corps intelligence officer Hal Kempfer told KHON that the ship “would have an array of antennae and everything else that were up there that they’d be listening to our communications, civilian and military.”
He suggested that underwater cables could be the attraction.
Last year, the Department of Homeland Security stopped the breach of undersea cables serving Oahu, which would have disrupted communications on the island, KHON reported.
“Globally, about 99 percent of all digital information is transferred to underwater cables, fiber optic cables,” Kempfer said. “If you ever look at a map, you see just a huge amount of lines going into Hawaii with all the different fiber optic cables. And what I would point out is the Russians have a track record of doing this.”
In recent weeks, the @USCG has continued to monitor a Russian vessel, believed to be an intelligence gathering ship, off the coast of the Hawaiian Islands.
Full story: https://t.co/yEy7JbYMQL pic.twitter.com/fEdiQPRMpS
— USCG Hawaii Pacific (@USCGHawaiiPac) January 18, 2023
The Coast Guard posted a video of the spy ship that shows its support vessel, the Pechenga, and then the Vladivostok-based Kareliya, according to Popular Mechanics.
The outlet said the ship has two AK-630 close-in weapon system Gatling-type guns and two SA-N-8 surface-to-air missile launchers.
Pentagon representative Sabrina Singh did not speculate on exactly why the Russians were snooping, according to KNTV-TV.
“I can’t speak to why the Russians are sailing the ship right now; it’s kind of precarious timing,” she said, adding that the ship has committed no breaches of law or accepted behavior.
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