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Sailor’s Selfie Allowed to Geolocate Russia’s Nuclear-Powered Battlecruiser

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Sailor’s Selfie Allowed to Geolocate Russia's Nuclear-Powered Battlecruiser

A selfie, taken and published online by one of the sailors of Russia’s Pyotr Velikiy battlecruiser, allowed to find out exact coordinates of the nuclear-powered warship.

The Washington Free Beacon online newspaper published an article, according to which, photos, published by Russian navy sailor, allowed to obtain certain geolocation data and to determine that the Pyotr Velikiy was located to the east of the coast of Crete at that time.

Whether this information was strictly confidential or not – now this will be defined by the Command of the warship and, perhaps, by the headquarters of the Russian Navy. This is not even an issue of secrecy or non-secrecy of the information, but of an elementary discipline during a non-routine long campaign.

In 2005 the Russian Defense Ministry issued the 010 Decree, which strictly prohibits to use cellphones on the territory of military installations.

Sailor’s Selfie Allowed to Geolocate Russia's Nuclear-Powered Battlecruiser

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It is unlikely that the deck of nuclear-powered battlecruiser, which is set for a military campaign in Syria, is one of the places, where servicemen have a right to use mobile devices, take selfies and make videos, allowing to geolocate the warship.

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Igor Ochocinszk

Oh cmon, it’s just a few selfies, don’t be so tough on that guy.Ships can easily change location, it’s not like he took a selfie with the battlecruiser blueprints or something. The guy is doing service for his country, can’t expect him to be at work 24/7, gotta take a moment to relax, get out on deck and enjoy Mediterranean Sun.

John Whitehot

ye but some discipline is probably on its way


Breach of discipline probably. But such photo would not disclose anything not already known. At the time when this photo was published Russian Navy had an exercise in the Aegean Sea and within Greece.

“The exercises will take place on Jan. 3 and 4 and on Jan. 8 and 10 southeast of the island of Rhodes, and on Jan. 11 south of Crete”

No need for a photo to tell where they were at the time. People on the twitter and whatever have constant need to showcase their wisdom, that is what this is about.


I expect he will still be disciplined, especially when a rule against using smartphones in a military zone exists.The military has to maintain zero tolerance for lapses in discipline as part of the rules when it comes to being in the business of killing to protect one’s nation.

Military rules are there and to be enforced strictly for a reason. Mistakes in war can cost your life as well as the whole team. For example loading the powder charge before loading the shell into an artillery piece. I am an ex-conscript in the Singapore military.

Obama is still in office until January 2017, which means the danger of being targeted by a US munitions is still there.


Or position confirmed by a Dutch submarine! Selfie used as a smokescreen. And, it’s not like they don’t have satellites…

Douglas Houck

From the image used, (just a bunch of blue water in the background), it’s not the image per se but most likely the metadata embedded in the photo which allows for someone to geolocate where it was taken. Cellphones have the option of adding the GPS data to every photo taken. Either turn off that option, turn off the phone’s GPS, or strip out the metadata before posting.

It’s not like the US doesn’t know exactly where the ship is at all times.


You can also have a message disguised as a selfie photo?

Lame, this dude just got a bunch of sailors phones taken away.
That is how discipline usually works in situations such as this.

Pave Way IV

Oh my God! This isn’t the 1940’s anymore. Peter the Great is one of the largest heavy missile cruisers in the world AND it’s nuclear powered AND it’s Russian AND it’s designed to sink U.S. aircraft carriers (and blow up all manner of other things it chooses). Does anyone really think the U.S. Navy does not know where this thing is 24×7 within an accuracy of a few feet? Likewise, does anyone think the Russians don’t know precisely where our U.S. aircraft carriers are at any given moment? The sailors could live-stream video off the deck overlaid with GPS coordinates and it wouldn’t really affect operational security one bit.

If I were the commander, I would require the crew to go on deck and take selfies to publish on social media. The sailor should never be allowed to believe or act like the location of their ship or anything visible on deck is ‘secret’ today. You need to assume you are being watched constantly and do your job with that in mind. If 1940’s-era operational security is the best you can do for ‘discipline’, then your navy belongs in a museum.


Rules are rules, especially in the military. Breach of protocol and he’s out of there.

chris chuba

Just curious how they did it. I am guessing that it was the photo that showed the sunlight over the water combined with the exact time of the photo. The angle of the sun is probably unique, albeit by a very small degree.

Any other theories?


How about GPS location in the metadata?

Jens Holm

I realyy dont get those comments. Russians do almost everything to show their strengt. So why not selfies as well sailors having a good time.

And why are they there. Well it probatly to bombarde rebels in Syria. Thats no secret. Might be the opposite making Turks remember not to intervene and take som colonies back incl. kurds, so they are proven PKK`s. and an internal affair – something.

Jacek Wolski

Gee, and I thought they where going to make him walk the plank

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