Viktor Leonov russian intelligence ship

Coast Guard: Russian Spy Ship Operating in ‘Unsafe Manner’ Off Southeastern United States

Mike Schuler
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December 17, 2019

RNS Viktor Leonov. Photo: Russian Navy / Northern Fleet

The U.S. Coast Guard is alerting mariners to the possible presence of a Russian surveillance ship that has been conducting unsafe operations off the southeastern coast of United States.

According to a Marine Safety Information Bulletin issued by USCG Sector Charleston on Monday, the Coast Guard has received reports indicating that the Russian Navy’s Viktor Leonov (AGI-175) has been off the coast of South Carolina and Georgia “operating in an unsafe manner,” including “not energizing running lights while in reduced visibility conditions, not responding to hails by commercial vessels attempting to coordinate safe passage and other erratic movements,” the bulletin said.

Vessels transiting these waters should maintain a sharp lookout and use extreme caution when navigating near the vessel, and mariners should make reports of any unsafe situations to the United States Coast Guard, the bulletin added.

The Viktor Leonov is part of the Russian Northern Fleet’s Vishnya-class of intelligence-gathering ships. The vessel has previously been reported off the coast of Connecticut in 2017 and off the coast of Virginia and Delaware in 2014 and 2015.


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