Patrol ship HMS Tyne has kept close watch on Viktor Leonov, an intelligence-gathering ship, and her supporting tanker Sergey Osipov. They have been sailing around the Moray Firth, where they sheltered from Storm Aiden when it hit the country on October 31 and carried out replenishment operations before the Osipov left UK waters.
Moscow’s Vishnya-class spy ships are armed with sea defence missiles and are used to gather sensitive radio traffic.
The huge vessels are 91.5 meters long, displace 3,470 tons and have a crew of around 150 people.
Lieutenant Justin Shirtcliff, HMS Tyne’s operations officer, said: “It was apparent these two ships were making use of the shelter from the high winds and inclement seas of Storm Aiden, and Tyne remained close by to monitor their activity.
“HMS Tyne and her sailors remain ready for short-notice tasking, whatever the weather, wherever the task.”
It is the third time this month a patrol ship has shadowed foreign warships in home waters – partly in conjunction with NATO allies.
Tyne shadowed a group of Russian warships including corvette Vasily Bykov, a Kilo-class submarine and her accompanying support vessel, an ocean-going tug.
She was assisted by Portuguese frigate NRP Corte Real from NATO’s Standing Maritime Group 1, which ensured constant surveillance of the Russian units as they moved through UK waters.
Having handed over monitoring duties to the UK’s allies, Tyne headed south to observe another Russian unit, the Smolny, a cadet training ship, as it passed through UK waters.
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