Russian Spy Ship Lurks Off Hawaii's Coast, Monitoring US Activities

Posted: Jul 07, 2016 9:00 AM

A Russian spy vessel has been spotted off the coast of Hawaii, supposedly monitoring the Rim of the Pacific exercise, or RIMPAC, according to reports.  

The last time a Russian spy ship conducted operations near Hawaii was in 2004, also the same time as RIMPAC.

"Obviously, we are aware that it is there, and we've taken all precautions necessary to protect our critical information," Pacific Fleet spokesman Lt. Clint Ramsden said. "Its presence has not affected the conduct of the exercise."

The Balzam-class auxiliary general intelligence ship is outside of the U.S. 12-nautical-mile territorial waters, but within the U.S. 200-nautical-mile Exclusive Economic Zone.  The Pacific Fleet has "that information from an (intelligence) standpoint, but it's not something that we're disclosing at this time," Ramsden said.

“It used to be that AGIs would deploy regularly off their ports and we would encounter them and they would operate very safely and professionally — mostly looking for signals intelligence,” Bryan Clark, a naval analyst at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, told USNI News.

“It’s unusual now, only because they haven’t done it in a while,” he said.