US Navy Ship Operates In Irish EEZ For 4 Months With Transmitter Off – Report Says

A US Navy vessel that has been carrying out operations in Irish-controlled waters for almost four months with the Automatic Identification System (AIS) transmitter switched off has baffled defence officials in Ireland, per Naval Open Source Intelligence (NOSI).

The 3,518 gross tonnage US Navy’s advanced coastal supply vessel, the Virginia Ann, capable of undertaking advanced subsurface activities and deploying expert deep-sea divers, departed from Cork Harbor at Rushbrooke last week. It sailed off the southwest coast.

A US Navy’s Offshore Supply Ship, constructed in 2015, was sailing close to Ireland’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) with the transmitter switched off.

Representation Image
Representation Image

While the US Navy hasn’t given clear explanations of the vessel’s operation, its activity has resulted in great confusion among Ireland’s defence officials and highlighted the Irish Naval Service’s incompetency in monitoring the security of the maritime region; military sources informed the Irish Times.

While the vessel may not have posed a clear threat to national security, its prowl and presence in Ireland’s exclusive maritime zone reflect an inability to monitor what’s happening in the backyard, whether it is the Americans, Russians, or whoever, per military resource.

A few security sources mentioned that the US vessel could be upgrading an underwater surveillance system from the Cold War era to detect Russia’s submarines effectively. The Sound Surveillance System [better known as the SOSUS] is a unique submarine detection system that ships had been empowered with during the Cold War for tracking long-range submarines in deep water, a key priority in anti-submarine warfare [or ASW].

To accomplish such a task, arrays of hydrophones must be placed on the ocean floor. The hydrophones are then linked to underwater marine cables, which, in turn, are connected to land-based processing centres referred to as “naval facilities” [or NAVFACs].

Virginia Ann might have been placing cables at the most strategic choke points that, in turn, would be alerting the US military if a submarine from Russia entered the North Atlantic amid rising geopolitical games between the Cold War rivals. But the answers are still not clear.

In April 2023, a joint investigation led by public law stations in Sweden, Denmark, Norway, and Finland disclosed that vessels belonging to a Russian fleet disguised as research vessels and fishing trawlers stepped into the North Sea to carry out underwater surveillance and map the key locations in the strategic maritime zone.

SVT of Sweden, NRK of Norway, and Yle of Finland broadcast intercepted Russia’s communications from so-called Russian ghost vessels that were tracking Nordic waters with transmitters switched off.

References: Samachar Live, Republic World

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  1. Can we not haunt Ireland with mysterious maritime activity right now like some floating Vincent Cassel character… A simple phone call man “Hello yes, we’re the Americans sailing out here- please don’t panic. We’re servicing hydrophones…. etcetera…” 🤣

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