The U.S. Coast Guard has been monitoring a Russian vessel, believed to be engaged in intelligence gathering, off the coast of the Hawaiian Islands. The Coast Guard is coordinating 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.”
Although foreign ships in the U.S. exclusive economic zone is not unusual, tensions between the United States and Russia make the ship’s movements interesting to the Pentagon. Defense officials say the ship is operating in international waters. The zone allows ship to be within 12 nautical miles from a country’s shore.
The vessel is described as a Vishnya-class intelligence ship Kareliya (535), according to a review of the Jan. 11 video released by the Coast Guard. Satellite photos from Jan. 10 show the Russian vessel coming as close to 40 kilometers, or approximately 25 miles, within the Hawaiian shores, according to US Naval Institute News. The Coast Guard tracked the Kareliya in May 2021 in the same general area.
In mid-September, the Coast Guard Cutter Kimball crew, on a routine patrol in the Bering Sea, encountered Chinese naval vessels and four Russian naval vessels, including a Russian Federation Navy destroyer, all in a single formation.