HONOLULU (KHON2) — According to the USCG, in recent weeks, crews have continued to monitor a Russian vessel off the Hawaiian coast.

The USCG believes it is an intelligence-gathering ship and they are keeping a close eye on it.

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The Coast Guard says this isn’t something that happens regularly, KHON2 first reported last April that the military’s Indo-Pacific Command was tracking a Russian ship off of Hawaii. Indo-Pacific Command tells KHON2 Tuesday that this is the same ship.

“We believe it’s an intelligence collection vessel. And so far we have not witnessed any aggressive posture or any movements that are outside the norms of international maritime norms, international law,” USCG chief of External Affairs Cmdr. Dave Milne said.

12 nautical miles out from Hawaii’s shores and you’re in international waters. The Russian ship is within what’s called the “US Economic Exclusive Zone”, which is within 200 nautical miles of Hawaii.

While foreign military vessels can transit as they like through the U.S. economic exclusive zone, according to customary international laws, foreign-flagged military vessels have been observed loitering and operating within the Coast Guard District 14 area of response.

The USCG declined to say exactly where this ship is.

“They would have an array of antennae and everything else that were up there that they’d be listening to our communications, civilian and military,” Retired Marine Corps intelligence officer Hal Kempfer said.

The Coast Guard has tracked this ship before.

“This is not the first time the vessel has shown up off the shores of Hawaii, we’ve had in the past and also observed in monitor movements of the same vessel in the past,” Cmdr. Milne said.

So what are the Russians looking for? Kempfer says our military bases in the islands are of obvious interest, but underwater cables could be, too.

Just last year Homeland Security said they disrupted a significant breach involving a private company’s servers associated with an under-sea cable, thwarting a potential large outage of internet, cable service, and cell phones on Oahu.

The Coast Guard is coordinating with Department of Defense partners in providing updates to any foreign vessel movements and activities.

“Globally, about 99% of all digital information is transferred to underwater cables, fiber optic cables,” Kempfer said. “If you ever look at a map, you see just a huge amount of lines going into Hawaii with all the different fiber optic cables. And what I would point out is the Russians have a track record of doing this,”

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The Coast Guard says they don’t have any reason to believe there’s danger to the public right now, and recommends boaters observe international laws of the sea.