A Russian “research” ship, thought to potentially be a spy ship, is being tracked off the coast of the UK amid fears of an attack on infrastructure vital to the World Wide Web.
The Royal Navy is keeping tabs on the vessel after it unexpectedly changed direction and prompted fears that it may be there as part of a plot to launch an attack on undersea cables. The Russian government-owned ship, named the Akademik Boris Petrov, left its home port in Kaliningrad on Monday (October 17) and was set to sail through the English Channel and onwards to the site of a scientific expedition in the South Atlantic, the Sun reported.
However today (October 21) it was reported that the ship had changed course and is now expected to sail past Scottish islands in the coming days after it slowed drastically while passing Norwegian oil fields in the North Sea.
According to navigation data, the ship is also positioned to pass through waters off the Faslane naval base – home to the UK’s nuclear deterrent, the Trident submarines. It will then pass over the northwest of Ireland, where critical infrastructure for a series of transatlantic cables are located.
According to The Week, the fibre-optic cables running between the States and Europe are the “backbone” of the World Wide Web we have grown accustomed to using every day – at least 95% of global communications travel through the cables while the rest travels through satellite.
This isn’t the first time Russia has been embroiled in a suspected attack on vital undersea infrastructure. Just last month (September 26) it was discovered the Nordstream gas pipeline, in the Baltic Sea, had been blown up, cutting off Russian gas to the rest of Europe. While the Kremlin strongly denied any involvement in it, it is believed Russia was behind the attack.
And there has since been speculation that the transatlantic fibre-optic cables would be the next target. Fianna Fail MEP, Billy Kelleher, told the Irish Sun at the time: “All communications between the US and Europe goes through a series of cables which run very close to the coast of Ireland. What do you think Russian warships were doing in that area earlier this year?
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