Vessel Linked To Russian Carrier Group Spotted Off UK Coast Near Pipeline
Posted 28/03/2023 22:44
Serious concern has been raised in Shetland after a Russian tug appeared in the waters to the east of the UK Island.
Since Monday, Nikolay Chiker a 98-metre rescue tug has been plying the 30 mile stretch of waters to the East of Unst and Bressay. The tug has previously been linked to the Russian Kuznetsov carrier group. In 2019 it was spotted near Cuba alongside the Admiral Gorshkov, the first of a new class of Russian frigates built for power projection.
The tug has came close to the Pipeline that runs from the Shetland Gas Plant feeding gas to the UK mainland.
When contacted the Maritime and Coastguard Agency referred Energy People to the Ministry of Defence (MoD) who responded by saying that normally they wouldn’t comment on such issues but added that "they constantly observe our areas of UK responsibility and interest,”
Isles MP Alistair Carmichael said that given the lack of friendly ports for Russia, tugs are sometimes known for being out at sea to service other vessels.
He added: “It is widely understood that civilian tugs can perform military roles and there is a reasonable suspicion that this may be what is happening here.
“This behaviour is reminiscent of the Cold War and needs to be taken seriously.
“Even if only because of the development of the space port, Shetland is again going to be a strategically significant part of the UK.
“Of course, back in the Cold War days the Royal Navy would send ships to shadow this sort of thing. We simply do not have the vessels to do that now.”
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