|They watched us. We watched them|
The Spy Ships
In the late fifties and sixties the Soviet Union launched a very large fishing fleet in both the Atlantic and Pacific. They operated not very far off our coasts. At any point in time there was a large Soviet presence on the Grand Bank, big stern trawlers and smaller fishing boats that worked with large factory ships. They were big and grey with a gold hammer and sickle on a red funnel. There is no question they were fishing but the array of antennas on many of the ships was the tip off. They served a dual role. Sure they fished but, they were also working as spy ships.
Besides catching cod, their job was to monitor communications traffic, to keep an eye on what Western block navies were up to and to record signature engine and prop noise from both submarines and surface ships.
When we were on exercises in the North Atlantic, they often hung around watching what we were up to, sometimes purposely getting in the way. We moved in dangerously close to their ships and their nets. We watched them. They watched us.