By Chris King •
Updated: 20 Oct 2023 • 20:09
Image of the Spanish BAM 'Rayo' maritime action vessel.
Credit: Spanish Ministry of Defence.
A Spanish ship intercepted a Russian submarine and a tugboat that were transiting the western Mediterranean Sea to the south of the Balearic Islands.
According to a statement from the Defence Staff (EMAD), the maritime incident occurred on the afternoon of Wednesday, October 11.
The Kilo II class submarine and the ‘Sergey Balk’ tugboat were detected by the Spanish maritime action ship ‘Rayo’. It reportedly escorted the two vessels until they left the area, which was said to be close to the Spanish Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
It was emphasised by Spain’s Ministry of Defence that at no time did either vessel enter Spanish territorial waters. They were however sailing in waters of Spanish interest, which Spain has the responsibility of monitoring. The escort process that was carried out was routine and is used for all ships that approach these areas of interest they clarified.
On October 1, the ‘Rayo’ was integrated into the Maritime Operational Command, under the operational control of the Operations Command (MOPS).
Until the interception of the Russian vessels, its mission was that of Maritime Surveillance Operations. This consists of maritime traffic verification and control activities, the supervision of fishing activity within the limits of the EEZ and the protection of maritime lines of communication in the said area of interest.
Kilo-class submarines are a group of diesel-electric attack submarines that were originally built in the 1970s for the Soviet Navy, entering operational service in 1980.
Their design was updated by the Russian Navy in the mid-2010s, to a variant called Project 636.3, which is also known as the Improved Kilo II. These latest subs can reportedly launch up to four Kalibr cruise missiles.
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Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news.
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How extraordinary to witness a submarine surfaced in open waters with a tugboat at hand.
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