"Professor Nikolay Muru" heading south through the Turkish Straits - March 4, 2016
[credit: Yörük Işık]
On June 23, "Professor Nikolay Muru" possibly began escorting new Kilo-class submarine "Staryy Oskol" as it continues its transfer to the Black Sea.
According to an anonymous source, "Staryy Oskol" departed Polyarnyy on or before June 1 following state weapons testing in the Barents Sea. The submarine was being escorted near the Netherlands on June 7. Soon after, the submarine, with its escort - rescue tug "Altay" - were spotted in the English Channel.
The trail went silent until Interfax and RIA Novosti, again citing anonymous sources, revealed on June 22 that "Staryy Oskol" was located in the central Mediterranean Sea. According to the RIA Novosti source, the submarine would transit the Turkish Straits in late June and arrive in an unspecified Russian port in early July.
|AIS reporting for "Professor Nikolay Muru" - June 22-25, 2016|
AIS reporting for Russian Navy rescue tug "Professor Nikolay Muru", which has been supporting Russian Navy ships operating in the eastern Mediterranean Sea since March, departed Tartus, Syria, on June 17. The tug made a direct 10- to 11-knot transit to the vicinity of Malta, where it was photographed on June 23. At approximately 11:00pm GMT on June 23, the tug began transiting east and has since maintained an average speed of 7.5 knots. The slower speed suggests the tug is either escorting a slow-moving vessel or towing something.
Ship spotters should provide the answer in the coming days.