The US Navy is tracking a Russian vessel off the coast of Hawaii, near a missile range.
The US Pacific fleet is keeping a close eye on a Russian Navy surveillance ship that has been operating near a critical American missile range off the coast of Hawaii.
The Russian Navy’s Vishnya-class auxiliary general intelligence (AGI) ship Kareliya has been spotted off the coast of Kauai for the past few days, according to the US Naval Institute.
The ship is about 13 nautical miles west of the island, just outside of US territorial waters.
At 12 nautical miles from a sovereign coastline, international waters begin.
The Pacific Missile Range Facility Barking Sands is located on Kauai and is used by the Navy and the Missile Defense Agency to test missiles.
The range is a place where submarines, surface ships, planes, and spacecraft can all operate and be tracked at the same time.
The Russian ship reportedly caused a Missile Defense Agency missile test to be postponed, according to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.
Capt. John Gay, a spokesman for the US Pacific Fleet, said in a statement that the US Navy was “aware of the Russian vessel operating in international waters near Hawaii,” and that it would “track it throughout its time here.”
“We can closely monitor all vessels in the Indo-Pacific area of operations using maritime patrol aircraft, surface ships, and joint capabilities,” Gay said.
Gay didn’t say anything about the ship’s name.
The ship was not transmitting an automatic identification system (AIS) signal, but it was operating within international law and is not believed to be a navigational hazard, according to USNI.
Kareliya is one of seven Russian Navy AGIs tasked with signals intelligence missions. These are common among rival Navies and involve intercepting and deciphering an adversary’s transmissions.
The vessel, which was first commissioned in 1986, was repaired and upgraded between 2014 and 2017 before being returned to Russia’s Pacific Fleet. The fleet is based in the port city of Vladivostok, according to local Russian television station Vestiprim.
The U.S. Navy’s observation of the Russian vessel comes as tensions between Moscow and Washington, D.C. continue to mount.
It also follows a number of escort missions by Russian MiG-31 fighter jets of U.S. reconnaissance aircraft over the Pacific Ocean in Russia’s far east.
In March, Russia’s Navy test-fired a supersonic anti-ship cruise missile from the Moskva in the Black Sea ahead of NATO. This is a brief summary.