The MV Arctic Sea Conspiracy
About the same time 2 Russian nuclear subs appear off the East Coast, a Russian crewed cargo vessel goes missing in the English Channel. Coincidence, or just another of the countless mysteries at sea? Has anyone considered it could be a part of the Russian military exercises ongoing, perhaps to test the tracking abilities of their warships?
It could also have been an elaborate experiment in asymmetric warfare at sea. Since Moscow has known for years we could locate their subs, thanks to the Walker spy ring, they send their noisy boats to distract our own tracking forces, certainly a natural reaction for the US forces, then launch a scathing missile attack from launchers hidden in the bowels of the innocent looking merchantman. Makes some sense; why attack our strengths? From Eagle1 at the USNI blog:
…For several years we have been hearing, giving and responding to warnings about the danger of a rogue ship wandering the seas. And now we seemingly have a case in point. During his comments to the BBC, Major General Tom Wilkerson of the USNI refers to a couple of concerns, including the placement of something of value other than the ship’s normal cargo on the vessel, or, more ominously, something dangerous to others on the ship.
For example, on one extreme, there have been warnings of “SCUD” missiles being placed on small merchants and launching missile attacks (see here). A more likely scenario involves the use of a small ship as a carrier of massive amounts of explosives and other weapons of mass destruction and sailing the vessel into a densely populated port area and triggering the device.
These are the “auxiliary warships” we have mentioned before. With modern weapons, some daring and 9-11 like ingenuity, plus a few old freighters, any nation can become an instant seapower.
Then again it could all be just another mystery. No one has ever figured out what happened to the Mary Celeste. The sea is a strange place and for some things there are no answers.