December 2, 2019

COLD WAR II: Suspected Internet Cable Spy Ship Operating In Americas For Over A Month.

Russia’s controversial intelligence ship Yantar has been operating in the Caribbean, or mid-Atlantic, since October. She is suspected by Western navies of being involved in operations on undersea communications cables. Significantly, she appears to be avoiding broadcasting her position via AIS (Automated Identification System).

I suspect that going dark on AIS is a deliberate measure to frustrate efforts to analyse her mission. She has briefly used AIS while making port calls, where it would be expected by local authorities, for example while calling at Trinidad on November 8 and again on November 28. However in both cases she disappeared from AIS tracking sites almost as soon as she left port. Based on the exact locations where she disappeared, she likely turned it off. We can see this because other ships, which were much further away, were being picked up by the same AIS station. Another possibility is that her AIS transponder is operating with an unusually low power output. It amounts to the same thing. She also has a satellite AIS system, which we can be sure has been switched off.

With all the tracking turned off, I hope the Navy is providing a fulltime escort, just to keep her safe from a collision.

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