September 02, 2015

The Russian Navy RV Yantar (Янтарь) is taking the long way to Kalingrad


Russian Naval Research Vessel Yantar / Янтарь
Credit: http://warfare.be/
The Russian Naval Research Vessel Yantar (Янтарь), classified as an Auxiliary General Oceanographic Research (AGOR), with underwater rescue capability, was commissioned earlier this year.  Two more for the Pacific fleet, and one more for the Northern Fleet are planned. The ship is also known by it's designation "Project 22010".  It is rumoured to have been commissioned by the secretive GUGI (An acronym for what roughly translates to Main Directorate for Deep Sea Research) a part of the Ministry of Defence of Russia which is responsible for "underwater engineering" which is a "euphemism meaning spying by means of planting, tampering with or stealing objects underwater" (source) I believe this is the equivalent of the National Underwater Reconnaissance Office in the United States.  If Warefare.be is correct, and the ship has been assigned to the 29th Special Squadron of the Northern Fleet, its home port is Olenya Guba (Оле́нья Губа), where a secret reconnaissance submarine base is located, and the 29 Special Sqadron is also the unit which those submarines are associated with.
I'm going to go out on a limb and bet this isn't your typical AGOR.


Trivia: "Yantar" means Amber, in Russian, and is named after the shipyard that bears the same name, and celebrated its 65th Anniversary in 2010 when the keel for the ship was laid down, and 70th anniversary when the ship was commissioned.


Specifications:

Size:
Total displacement - 5230 tons
Length - 108.1 m
Width - 17.2 m
Power plant:
- 2 azimuth thrusters
- Thruster
- 3 x DB-VA 840 x 840 kW
- 2 x DB-VA 280 x 280 kW.
Additional equipment:
Helipad
Unmanned remotely operated vehicles and manned submersibles (type Rus, Consul, Mir) for research of the sea bed.
(information credit: Warfare.be)

From what I gather from open source sources (mainly social media), she arrived off the coast of Nova Scotia (Canada) around August 24th 2015, and headed South along the United States East coast, keeping outside of terrestrial AIS range, but continuing to keep her satellite AIS transponder on. It seems to be headed towards Cuba, but unlike the track the Nikolay Chiker took last year, it is keeping well away from US Waters and may be headed to Cuba or Nicaragua at this point.
MarineTraffic.com has an itinerary listed that the ship should arrive in the port of Baltiysk, Kalingrad (Russia) on November 13th 2015.  That's a hell of a detour for some cigars!

RV Yantar (янтарь) - November 2014 | Baltyisk, Kalingrad, Russia
Photo Credit: Unknown
RV Yantar (янтарь) - November 2014 | Baltyisk, Kalingrad, Russia
Photo Credit: Unknown

RV Yantar (янтарь) - November 2014 | Baltyisk, Kalingrad, Russia
Photo Credit: Unknown

RV Yantar (янтарь) - November 2014 | Baltyisk, Kalingrad, Russia
Photo Credit: Unknown

Location Information on the RV Yantar via AIS

http://www.marinetraffic.com/ais/details/ships/shipid:1215053/mmsi:273546520/imo:0/vessel:YANTAR
https://www.vesselfinder.com/?mmsi=273546520
https://www.fleetmon.com/en/vessels/Yantar_9060691
http://www.myshiptracking.com/vessels/yantar-mmsi-273546520-imo-111111
http://aprs.fi/info/i/273546520
http://www.shipxy.com/Home/Ship/273546520
https://www.portmaps.com/eng/aiss/YANTAR'-273546520
http://www.shipais.co.uk/showship.php?map=CalaisPort&mmsi=273546520
http://www.shippingexplorer.net/en/ship/yantar/5460018
http://www.shipscene.com/ViewVessel/273546520
http://ais.hsdhw.com/273546520/position

(it looks like George has already taken most of the words right out of my mouth, but I swear this is a case of parallel research, and great minds think alike!)

Further Reading:

Olenya Guba (Оле́нья Губа) is the home to the 29th Special Squadron of the Russian Navy, which I believe operates their reconnaissance submarines.  It is home to the BS-136 "Delta-III Stretch" submarine, which was a Delta-III nuclear ballistic missile submarine retrofitted to ferry mini-subs and act as a mother ship to them. That the RV Yantar was assigned to the 29th Special Sqadron says something about it's purpose and mission.


More here:
http://militaryrussia.ru/blog/topic-762.html
http://www.hisutton.com/Spy%20Sub%20-%20Project%2010831%20Losharik.html

Further Credit:

Jane's Fighting Ships & Warfare.be

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