A Russian spy vessel has returned to international waters off the southeastern coast of the United States and is currently engaging in unsafe activities, the U.S. Coast Guard has reported, according to the Washington Times.
The vessel, named the Victor Leonov, is a Russian surveillance ship and was initially reported to be sailing off the South Carolina coast over the past few days without lights.
Also, the ship would not respond to commercial vessels attempting to avoid a collision, the Times reporting, citing Coast Guard officials.
On Sunday, the Coast Guard in Charleston, South Carolina, issued a maritime safety information bulletin regarding the ship’s activities.
Additionally, the USCG advised all vessels to “maintain a sharp lookout and use extreme caution when navigating in proximity to this vessel.”
“The United States Coast Guard has received reports indicating that the RFN Viktor Leonov (AGI-175) has been operating in an unsafe manner off the coast of South Carolina and Georgia,” the notice cited by the Times said.
“This unsafe operation includes 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,” it added.
The Leonov, described as a Russian auxiliary general intelligence ship (AGI), regularly patrols international waters along the eastern coast of the United States and has operated in the region since 2015.
The ship is outfitted with high-tech spying equipment, and is designed to intercept signals intelligence.
The U.S. Navy’s USS Mahan, an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, had been operating in close proximity to the Russian ship.