Four months after a Russian surveillance ship left T&T, the Ministry of Foreign and Caricom Affairs has given naval clearance for another Russian ship to dock in T&T’s territorial waters tomorrow..
The medium-sized Russian Navy sea tanker ship, named Kama from the Russian Navy Northern Fleet, is expected to enter and berth in T&T’s waters between tomorrow and Thursday.
In a confidential document leaked to Guardian Media, the ministry extended compliments to the Embassy of the Russian Federation.
The document stated that the ministry “has the honour to refer to the latter’s Diplomatic Note No 140 dated June 14th 2019 requesting naval clearance for the Russian medium-sized sea tanker Kama of the Northern Navy to enter and berth in the territorial waters of the Republic of T&T.”
The ministry also said, “It has the further honour to inform that approval has been granted by the Ministry for the vessel to enter and berth.”
The document which has the government’s Coat of Arms and an official stamp of the Ministry further stated that “ The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Caricom Affairs of the Republic avails itself of this opportunity to renew to the Embassy of the Russian Federation the assurances of its highest consideration.”
Research done on the Kama sea tanker indicates that it usually accompanies warships on long range deployment.
In an article published by Fox News yesterday, it was stated that the Kama sea tanker docked in the port of Havana in Cuba on Monday along with a multifunctional logistics vessel Elbrus, the rescue tug Nikolai Chiker and one of Russia’s advanced warships the Admiral Gorshkov which is armed with cruise missiles, air deference systems and other weapons.
According to the Russian Navy, Admiral Gorshkov was expected to dock at several Caribbean ports.
Further research shows that the Kama, a replenishment oiler has also supported the Navy’s Udaloy-class anti-submarine warfare (ASW) destroyer Vice-Admiral Kulakov in the past.
This is not the first time that a Russian vessel has entered territorial waters.
Last February, the SSV-175 Viktor Leonov, a Russian Vishnya-class intelligence ship, docked for five days in T&T waters. The US military C-32B special ops plane arrived on February 23 to monitor the presence of the Russian surveillance ship.
At the time, researcher Daurius Figueira said one of the reasons for the ship passing through T&T was the country’s close proximity to Venezuela geographically. He said Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro was very close to Russia and Iran who are involved in the conflict in Syria. Even with the sanctions imposed on Venezuela by American President Donald Trump, Russia continues to show solidarity with Maduro by forgiving his debt to Russia.
Contacted yesterday, a source at the T&T Defence Force said it was not unusual for Navy vessels to dock in local waters. Before any foreign vessel enters T&T waters they first have to undergo an interview by the Maritime Division of the Ministry of Works and Transport and once interviews and documents are satisfactory, permission is given to dock. Efforts to contact Minister of Foreign Affairs Dennis Moses and Minister of Works Rohan Sinanan were unavailable for comment.