Image of Russian ship: Marinha (Navy)
Image of Russian ship: Marinha (Navy)

Portuguese Navy tracks (another) Russian oceanographic research vessel passing alongside Madeira

Akademik Aleksandr Karpinskiy has been tracked by Navy before

The Portuguese Navy has been busy again this weekend, tracking a Russian ‘oceanographic research vessel’ as it passes through the Madeira exclusive economic zone.

This is the second time in little more than a year that the Akademik Aleksandr Karpinskiy has passed through Portuguese territorial waters.

As the Navy has said, these operations of ‘monitoring and accompaniment’ are to “guarantee that no activities harmful to the country take place, and to promote and protect Portuguese interests in and through the sea”.

Last year, following a number of incidents involving passing Russian ships, the Navy’s commander in chief Admiral Gouveia e Melo explained that certainly some of them are spy ships, verifying areas of submarine cabling.

This is why, “serving Portugal at sea, 365 days per year, 24-hours a day, the Navy will continue to monitor and accompany the passing of these type of ships, effecting permanent patrols in maritime spaces under national sovereignty and jurisdiction”, said a naval source.

This particular ‘monitoring and accompaniment’ was carried out by the NRP António Enes, with a garrison of 58 sailors.

The fairly rusty old ship with the announced destination of the Port of Montevideo, Uruguay, in the South Atlantic, operates regularly in the Antarctic, according to blogspot espada-e-escudo.

Built 40 years ago in Nikolayev, Ukraine, “It is equipped with a wide range of research platforms specially designed for studying and mapping the ocean floor”, says the blog.

Espada-e-escudo describes the ship as “a Project 12883M class ship with a length of 104.5 metres, a beam of 16.03 metres and a draught of 6.9 metres, displacing 5,715 tonnes. It was modernised in 2014 at the Tallinn shipyard in Estonia. With an operational range of 30,000 nautical miles, it has a crew of 33 and can carry 37 scientists and technicians. It has a maximum speed of 15 knots (cruising at 10 knots). It has an aft flight deck

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