The US Coast Guard tracks a suspected Russian spy ship off the coast of Hawaii

(CNN) — The US Coast Guard said it is tracking a suspected Russian spy ship off the coast of Hawaii in international waters as tensions persist between Washington and Moscow over Russia’s war in Ukraine.

“In recent weeks, the US Coast Guard has continued to monitor a Russian vessel, believed to be an intelligence vessel, off the coast of the Hawaiian Islands,” the Coast Guard said in a statement.

The Coast Guard said the situation is not unusual but is monitoring it closely. “While foreign military vessels are free to transit through the US Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), under customary international law, foreign-flagged military vessels have often been observed operating and loitering within the response area. Coast Guard District Fourteen,” the statement said.

This is not the first time that suspected Russian spy ships have sailed off the coast of the United States. In 2019, a Russian spy ship was observed off the country’s southeast coast operating in what two US officials told CNN was an “unsafe manner.”

The actions of the Viktor Leonov, a Russian surveillance ship sailing off the coast of South Carolina and Florida, were determined to be unsafe because it did not use lights in low visibility conditions and did not respond to communication attempts from ships businesses to avoid possible accidents.

The Coast Guard said in the statement that it “continues to coordinate with Department of Defense partners, providing updates on foreign vessel movements and activities and to appropriately comply with presence-with-presence to encourage international maritime regulations.”

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