Yantar, launched by the Russian Navy in May, is equipped with two self-propelled deep-sea submersible craft which can identify and even potentially sever or otherwise sabotage the cables through which much of the world’s communications are carried.
According to the New York Times, Yantar was last month cruising slowly between the East Coast of the United States and Cuba — where a major cable lands at Guantánamo Bay, near the US base.
Lieutenant Colonel Ivar Moen from the Norwegian Armed Forces confirmed that the vessel was now cruising off Norway.
“This ship is heading northwards and is now just west of Lofoten,” he told NRK. “The ship’s course does not differ from a normal sailing pattern of an international ship on its way north.”
“The ship is sailing along the coast in accordance with all laws and regulations,” he added.
“I’m worried every day about what the Russians may be doing,” Rear Admiral Frederick J. Roegge, commander of the US Navy’s submarine fleet in the Pacific told the New York Times.
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“It would be a concern to hear any country was tampering with communication cables; however, due to the classified nature of submarine operations, we do not discuss specifics,” Navy spokesman Commander William Marks said.
According to the New York Times, undersea telecoms cables now carry 95 percent of the world’s daily communications, carrying global business worth more than $10 trillion a day.