Military

US Coast Guard Monitors Russian Spy Ship off Hawaiian Islands

January 19, 2023Noelle Wiehe
The US Coast Guard 14th District continues to monitor a ship believed to be a Russian intelligence-gathering vessel off the coast of the Hawaiian Islands. Screengrab from US Coast Guard video.

The US Coast Guard 14th District continues to monitor a ship believed to be a Russian intelligence-gathering vessel off the coast of the Hawaiian Islands. Screengrab from US Coast Guard video.

Hawaii-based Coast Guard ships have been keeping an eye on a Russian boat that US officials say is an intelligence-gathering vessel.

The US Coast Guard 14th District Headquarters in Honolulu is responsible for the Hawaiian Islands and much of the Pacific, extending to Japan, and lately they’ve been tracking a Russian ship nearly 5,000 miles from its home.

The Russian intelligence ship is the Kareliya (SSV535). A video released on Jan. 11 by the US Coast Guard 14th District shows the Project 864 Vishnya-class AGI receiving fuel from a Russian ship near the Hawaiian Islands.

The ship has often been seen in Hawaiian waters and is monitoring US movements, as well.

14th District

The Kareliya (SSV-535) of Project 864 Vishnaya-class AGI is refueled from a Russian ship. Screengrab from US Coast Guard video.

Coast Guard officials in Alaska said they will often chase away Russian ships attempting to fish out of American waters.

“Most of our missions up here [in the Pacific] are set on search and rescue and living marine resources,” the US Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak, Alaska, executive officer, Cmdr. Richard Kuzak, said. “We continue to promote and protect the marine environment, the fisheries resources, and the aids to navigation. That’s where a lot of our operations reside naturally. Those are very US-oriented missions for the local populace.”

Maritime enforcement specialists will often observe foreign-flagged vessels operate or loiter within the Coast Guard Honolulu”s area of responsibility.

Military vessels from outside the US may transit freely through the nation’s economic exclusive zone, however, according to customary international laws.

14th District

The Kareliya (SSV-535) of Project 864 Vishnaya-class AGI is refueled from a Russian ship. Screengrab from US Coast Guard video.

Kuzak told Coffee or Die Magazine that Russia has its own version of the Coast Guard: the Border Service of the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation.

“There’s a reason to have a partnership with nations, whether there are difficult political times or not,” Kuzak said. “Whether it’s Russia or any other country or nation, we’re cognizant of what there is and we’ll follow orders as necessary. We just make ourselves aware and just conduct operations as we need to be or as we’re directed.”

Regardless, the Coast Guard is continuing to monitor the Russian vessel, Cmdr. Dave Milne, chief of Coast Guard external affairs, said in a prepared statement.

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

Read Next: Don't Call It A 'Tank': The M2 Bradley Hunted Russian Tanks in Iraq — Now It'll Be In Ukraine

Noelle Wiehe
Noelle Wiehe

Noelle is an award-winning journalist from Cincinnati, Ohio, who came to Coffee or Die Magazine following a fellowship from Military Veterans in Journalism. She graduated from the University of Cincinnati with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and interned with the US Army Cadet Command in college. She worked as a civilian journalist covering several units, including the 75th Ranger Regiment on Fort Benning, before she joined the military as a public affairs specialist attached to the 3rd Infantry Division. Have a story or tip about the Marine Corps, Coast Guard, or Navy that readers need to know? Email: [email protected]

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