A calm Russian fish factory ship named ESTER (MMSI: 273397450) , which departed from Istanbul, is currently sailing in the Ionian Sea heading west.
Everything seems normal, right? At first glance, yes. At the same time, a US Navy Boeing P-8A, taking off from NAS Sigonella, is flying in the area. Are these two things connected? Initially, one might say no.
However, things are not always as they seem.
According to a joint investigation by public broadcasters in Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and Finland, which was released in April, Russia is allegedly running a program to spy on NATO assets and key infrastructure using fishing vessels. The report mentioned suspicious activities conducted in the North Sea by a series of Russian workshop ships/fishing vessels.
During an inspection conducted in a Danish port, “equipment capable of sending and receiving military messages” was found on one of these units, indicating that Russia may be using the fishing vessels to support its military activities.
The same equipment is allegedly present on the ESTER. It is highly likely, therefore, that the ship is being closely monitored by NATO assets, and the extended mission of the American Poseidon is not entirely unrelated to these activities.