The U.S. Coast Guard received reports during the weekend that the RFN Viktor Leonov was operating in an unsafe manner off the Georgia and South Carolina coasts, according to the U.S. Naval Institute. In a bulletin, the Coast Guard said the Russian surveillance ship was not using its running lights "while in reduced visibility conditions, not responding to hails by commercial vessels attempting to coordinate safe passage and other erratic movements."
Georgia's nuclear submarine base at Kings Bay was initially thought to be the ship's focus. But on Thursday, the Washington Times reported the Russian spy ship was observing SpaceX's launch capabilities.