Eyes on the Ursa Major

Once again, we track a Russian cargo ship following an “unusual” route in the Mediterranean.

This concerns the cargo ship Ursa Major (IMO: 9538892), which departed from Baltiysk, Russia, and is likely heading towards Tartus, Syria (while indicating Port Said as its destination). The ship is likely transporting weapons, as it appears that the frigate Admiral Grogorovich has joined it in the Sicilian Channel to escort it to Syria.

Before resuming its course, Ursa Major stopped for several hours southeast of Sicily, seemingly without any specific reason. As of the current writing (18:00 CEST on 05/07/24), the ship seems to have resumed its eastward route at a regular speed (approximately 12 knots).

The ship has also attracted the attention of the Italian Air Force. An ATR P-72A (reg. MM62298) took off from Sigonella AB and flew over the Ursa Major’s position around 11:00. We have only a single plot of this flight, which you can view above, but it is clear that the aircraft did not pass there by chance.

For the past few months, Russian ships have been using the Mediterranean route (known as the “Syria express”) to transport armaments to Syria instead of the route from the Black Sea due to concerns about Ukrainian maritime drone attacks.

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