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People look at the class frigate Admiral Gorshkov, part of the Russian naval detachment visiting Cuba, arriving at Havana’s harbor, on June 12, 2024. The Russian nuclear-powered submarine Kazan — which will not be carrying nuclear weapons — and three other Russian naval vessels, will dock in the Cuban capital from June 12-17. The unusual deployment of the Russian military so close to the United States — particularly the powerful submarine — comes amid major tensions over the war in Ukraine, where the Western-backed government is fighting a Russian invasion. (Photo by Yamil LAGE / AFP) (Photo by YAMIL LAGE/AFP via Getty Images) YAMIL LAGE AFP via Getty Images

By The Smartencyclopedia Staff Writer with Agencies

Miami, FL – On Tuesday, a flotilla of Russian warships passed close to South Florida’s shores en route to Havana, Cuba, sparking significant attention and tracking efforts among Floridians. Utilizing services such as Marinetraffic and Fleetmon, which allow global tracking of ships, locals began sharing maps and data almost in real time on social media.

The flotilla, comprising one missile frigate and two support vessels, was tracked approximately 30 miles off Key Largo. The ships’ positions were easily monitored thanks to signals from their transponders, part of the Automatic Identification System (AIS), a global safety network. These transponders could have been deactivated by the Russian vessels to evade detection, but they were likely kept active to inform commercial ships and civilian vessels in the vicinity, reducing the risk of accidental collisions.

The proximity of the Russian ships to the U.S. coastline captivated social media users, although the information shared was sometimes exaggerated or inaccurate. “The Russian dis/mis-info channels are running amok with the ‘Russians are in Cuba’ nonsense. Absolute nonsense” commented X user @NatalkaKyiv in a popular thread on Wednesday. “Yep. They are presenting this as if the second Cuban missile crisis is a-brewin’.”

Luis Dominguez, a Cuban exile residing in Miami who closely monitored the Russian flotilla, including a submarine heading toward Havana, observed that some people were anxious, mistakenly believing that the nuclear-powered submarine Kazan carried nuclear weapons. Dominguez, who runs a website tracking the movements of Cuban officials and occasionally blogs about their air travel, emphasized that the perceived threat of the ships to the U.S. was overstated. “Any of the U.S. destroyers assigned by the Navy to track the frigate is much more powerful, and being a nuclear submarine just means that it uses nuclear power to move,” he explained.

As the maps of the ships’ locations circulated on Tuesday and Wednesday, social media was flooded with videos of the Kazan surfacing in Havana Harbor, further fueling public interest.

Regardless of their next destination, it is highly likely that the travels of these Russian ships will continue to be monitored through ship tracking services. “We’ll continue watching,” Dominguez stated.

The incident underscores the heightened interest and sometimes hyperbole surrounding military movements, particularly those involving nuclear-capable vessels near U.S. borders. The availability of real-time tracking services has empowered ordinary citizens to keep a close eye on such developments, often leading to a mix of informed vigilance and speculative fear.

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