The U.S. Coast Guard said Wednesday it was monitoring a Russian ship it spotted in the waters near the Hawaiian islands that it believes is being used to gather intelligence.
The Coast Guard did note in a news release that the situation is not unusual, stating, “While foreign military vessels may transit freely through the U.S. economic exclusive zone (EEZ), as per customary international laws, foreign-flagged military vessels have often been observed operating and loitering within Coast Guard District Fourteen’s area of response.”
The statement added that the Coast Guard “continues to coordinate 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.”
The Hawaiian Islands are among the Coast Guard’s 14th district, which also includes American Samoa, Saipan, Guam, Singapore and Japan. It is the Coast Guard’s “largest area of responsibility.” Nearly 1,800 troops cover more than 14 million square miles of land and sea in the district.
This is not the first time a suspected Russia spy ship has sailed off the coast of the United States. In 2019, a Russian spy ship was spotted off the coast near South Carolina and Florida. U.S. officials told CNN it was observed operating in an “unsafe manner.”