Russian ship off Hawaii found to be gathering intelligence

The US Coast Guard (USCG) has said that it has monitored a Russian vessel for weeks that the agency believes is an “intelligence gathering ship” off the coast of Hawaii.

The USCG said in a bulletin on Wednesday that “while foreign military vessels may transit freely through the US 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 agency added that it’s working with the Defence Department, sharing updates on the movements and activities of foreign vessels as well as “to appropriately meet presence with presence to encourage international maritime norms”.

Commander Dave Milne, the chief of External Affairs, said in a statement that “the US Coast Guard is currently monitoring the Russian vessel operating in the vicinity of Hawaii”.

“As part of our daily operations, we track all vessels in the Pacific area through surface and air assets and joint agency capabilities,” he added. “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.”

The US Coast Guard has said that it monitored a Russian vessel for weeks that they believe is an ‘intelligence gathering ship’ (Screenshot / The US Coast Guard)
The US Coast Guard has said that it monitored a Russian vessel for weeks that they believe is an ‘intelligence gathering ship’ (Screenshot / The US Coast Guard)

Footage of the ship shared by the Coast Guard featured latitude and longitude coordinates revealing that the ship was about 100 miles from the Hawaii state capital of Honolulu, according to HawaiiNewsNow.

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US Indo-Pacific Command said in May that they were monitoring a Russian vessel in the vicinity of the Hawaiian islands. At the time, a retired Marine lieutenant colonel noted to KHON that the Soviet Union used to have intelligence ships stationed close to Hawaii during the Cold War era.

The US Coast Guard has said that it monitored a Russian vessel for weeks that they believe is an ‘intelligence gathering ship’ (Screenshot / The US Coast Guard)
The US Coast Guard has said that it monitored a Russian vessel for weeks that they believe is an ‘intelligence gathering ship’ (Screenshot / The US Coast Guard)

“The tactics, techniques, and procedures that we saw the Soviets doing back in the Cold War seem to be resurfacing again under the Russian banner,” Lieutenant Colonel Hal Kempfer told the Honolulu TV station. “This looks like one of those issues that I would point to Russian intelligence ships potentially off the shore of Hawaii.”

The US Coast Guard has said that it monitored a Russian vessel for weeks that they believe is an ‘intelligence gathering ship’ (Screenshot / The US Coast Guard)
The US Coast Guard has said that it monitored a Russian vessel for weeks that they believe is an ‘intelligence gathering ship’ (Screenshot / The US Coast Guard)

Back in May, the Lt Colonel added that “I have no doubt that Indo-PACOM is watching this closely, as are a number of other intelligence organizations trying to figure out exactly what it is”.

“They’re not just watching the ship they’re watching everything might be connected to and getting some real detail on what it’s doing, why it might be there, who they’re reporting to,” he said. “All these things go into a fusion process, an analytical process, if you will, that tells us is this a threat or is it not a threat.”