Russian Elites On the Run, Trying to Hide Ships as Ports Close

The usual placid sailing waters of Russian billionaires has abruptly given them the boot.

UK Transport secretary, Grant Shapps, said that he “had banned all ships with ANY Russian connection whatsoever.”

And while some people focus on Russian private plane movements, I find naval gazing (pun intended) far more interesting.

Intercepting a plane isn’t likely, whereas in international waters

…cargo vessel transporting cars, which was headed for St Petersburg, is “strongly suspected of being linked to Russian interests targeted by the sanctions”, said Capt Veronique Magnin, of the French Maritime Prefecture.

France just sailed up and grabbed a Russian ship, taking it as a wartime action. Should this not be how operations are conducted on Russian information technology as well?

In related news, Russia’s most powerful men appear to be engaging in conflict by tail-between-legs trying to hide as best they can when there is nowhere to hide.

Data reviewed by CNBC from Marine Traffic shows that at least four massive yachts owned by Russian business leaders have been moving toward Montenegro and the Maldives…

These ships are extremely unprotected and vulnerable, while operating in open spaces with almost impossible attribution.

Let’s say a small inexpensive automated drone packed with explosives sinks them (the sort of thing described for over two hundred years, at least since the auto-mobile naval torpedo of 1866), what then?

Source: Mailloux, R., Sengupta, D. L., Salazar-Palma, M., Sarkar, T. K., Oliner, A. A. (2006). History of Wireless. Germany: Wiley.

Or what if the port is targeted and destroyed, as we saw in 2018 when the docks of Roslyakovo abruptly failed.

Most people probably haven’t heard of that incident, and would be far more familiar with the fact that neutral civilian American ships were repeatedly bombed by Germany before WWI started; President Woodrow “KKK” Wilson had intercepted the related German Navy order on November 18, 1914 and somehow managed to deny telling Americans for three years why so many ships and ports were on fire.

…agents who are overseas and all destroying agents in ports where vessels carrying war material are loaded in England, France, Canada, the United States and Russia. It is indispensable by the intermediary of the third person having no relation with the official representatives of Germany to recruit progressively agents to organize explosions on ships sailing to enemy countries in order to cause delays and confusion in the loading, the departure and the unloading of these ships.

And on that note July 22, 1916 (still a year before Wilson would declare Germany an enemy, and just eight days before the infamous “Black Tom” explosion in NYC) the German military intelligence set off a massive bomb during a parade in downtown San Francisco and killed 10 civilians.

Whereas naval warfare has a long and storied past, today it seems to have much in common with cyber warfare, which constantly gets written up as needing a new set of norms, instead of being treated as acts of war.

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